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Tension arises at 62nd House forum
By Bob Susnjara | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 1/11/2010 12:01 AM

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Two Republican state representative candidates showed their differences in a Grayslake forum Sunday afternoon and no words were minced when the first question arrived.

State Rep. Sandy Cole of Grayslake will face Paul Mitchell of Hainesville in the Feb. 2 primary. The winner will face Democrat Rich Voltair of Round Lake Beach in the November general election to represent the 62nd House District.

District 62 includes all or parts of Grayslake, Gurnee, Lake Villa, Third Lake and the Round Lake area.

Mitchell was the first to answer a written question posed to the candidates that asked for the major difference between them.

"The biggest difference is I'm pro-life," Mitchell told the audience at Grayslake Central High School. "I'm pro-life without exception. I'm pro-life from the beginning of conception to natural death."

Cole stressed her a 25-year Lake County residency and her range of experiences from homeowner to community activist to elected official.

"I believe my experience in Springfield, working on particularly financial issues and job issues in the state, are a strength," Cole said.

Some visible tension occurred late in the forum when, as part of an answer to an unrelated question, Mitchell said Cole has favored charging in-state college tuition to illegal immigrants.

Although the forum wasn't a debate, Cole received permission to respond to Mitchell's statement, saying her position refers to "undocumented" immigrants.

"Even though they (students) were not born in this country, but they've gone to school in Illinois, graduated from an Illinois high school and gone to an Illinois grade school and kindergarten, they're entitled to in-state (college) tuition," Cole said. "And there's a little bit of difference between undocumented immigrants and illegal immigrants. These students are not illegal."

Following the event, Cole was asked to explain the difference between undocumented and illegal immigrants.

"Undocumented might mean their visa expired and they're waiting for a new one," Cole said. "They may not have entered the country illegally. They may not have their documents in order or they're going through the citizenship process. When you enter illegally, you have nothing."

Sunday's forum was sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Lake County, the Daily Herald and Grayslake High School District 127.