State Sen. Mike Jacobs questioned the background of his Republican opponent, Bill Albracht, during a candidate's forum Tuesday night at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Rock Island.
Democrat Cheri Bustos, of East Moline, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Colona, also attended the forum although a prior commitment kept Rep. Schilling away. But it was the sometimes heated debate between Sen. Jacobs, D-East Moline, and Mr. Albracht, of Moline, that was centerstage.
At one point, an audience member asked if Mr. Albracht, retired from the military and Secret Service, would divulge personal information.
"There's things I did that are still classified to this day," Mr. Albracht said. "I'm sorry; it isn't going to happen."
Sen. Jacobs responded, saying he thought Mr. Albracht could release information about himself, adding "I would like to see those files.
"I just don't see how you can go in the world and not give up your records," Sen. Jacobs said.
"You FOIA'd (Freedom of Information Act) everything in my house. You FOIA'd everything in my office. You FOIA'd every one in my family," Sen. Jacobs said. "You sent a letter against my brother-in-law, who is a police officer, and you tried to get him fired.
"I think you ought to come clean, because there's questions about how and when you left the Secret Service," Sen. Jacobs said.
Mr. Albracht said there were no questions about his Secret Service career.
"I went out with the highest honors, and the military with the highest honors," Mr. Albracht said.
"I guess I could be offended by your slander, but I'm considering the source," he told Sen. Jacobs. "And considering your background in the Senate, Mike, I wonder."
Sen. Jacobs also responded to Mr. Albracht's claims Monday that Sen. Jacobs will follow party orders and support a plan that could lead to big property tax increases for school districts to cover teacher pension costs.
"I would never cost-shift pensions to local communities," Sen. Jacobs said. "And, really, I think he (Mr. Albracht) ought to retract that and apologize for it."
Mr. Albracht replied, "Yeah, no thanks on that."
Instead, Mr. Albracht emphasized lower taxes, saying Sen. Jacobs voted to raise state income taxes by 67 percent. Small businesses are swimming in red tape because of overregulation, he said, and reform is needed in worker's compensation, public unions and state pensions.
"I think the organization of unions is an absolutely wonderful thing," Mr. Albracht said. "The negotiations have gotten corrupted for government unions.
"If the taxpayer is not at the table, the system is corrupted," he said. "Unions are good, but the collective bargaining aspect has to be straightened out."
Sen. Jacobs said Mr. Albracht says one thing but does another.
"Not only is Bill (Albracht) opposed to labor unions for police, firefighters and teachers, he doesn't believe in unemployment benefits as we know them today," Sen. Jacobs said. "I just find it ironic -- a gentleman who had no labor endorsement telling me what's good for labor."
Sen. Jacobs questioned where Mr. Albracht would make state budget cuts, saying a great percentage of state spending goes towards pensions and schools. That leaves about 20 percent of the state budget that could be cut, Sen. Jacobs said.
"I don't know how you're going to take kids who don't have health insurance -- or Medicaid people who are blind or disabled -- and kick them off the bus," Sen. Jacobs said. "I don't understand it."
Mr. Albracht said he wants to go after fraud and corruption.
Ms. Bustos stressed her support for education and transporation along with national security. She criticized Republicans and a budget proposal by GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan that she said included $12 billion in Pell Grant cuts.
She also said Amtrak is an essential service for the area that would bring jobs and money. And she said she supports diplomacy and economic sanctions against Iran if it doesn't comply with restrictions on its nuclear weapon program.
"We need to make sure that Israel, the only true democracy in the Middle East and our friend, that we do everything we can in helping Israel stay safe," she said.
Today is Friday, May 24, the 144th day of 2013. There are 221 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: A military escort will be at the square at 9 a.m. tomorrow forthe funeral of Lieut. Joseph Eaton. The county judge is absent in Chicago, which willaccount for his not being in the procession. 1888 -- 125 years ago: Rock Island's City Council last night appropriated $95,000 forexpenses for the 1888 and 1889 fiscal year. 1913 -- 100 years ago: Mrs. F.W. Reimers last night was re-elected president of the RockIsland Musical Club at a meeting in the New Harper Hotel. 1938 -- 75 years ago: Seven members of Boy Scout Troop 21 got their Eagle badges lastnight. They were Ralph Hurt, Robert Nelson, Howard Schersten, Cecil Nelson, RobertFryxell, Clarence Stone and Rollin Hurt. 1963 -- 50 years ago: Mayor Morris Muhleman has resorted to a form letter in an effort toanswer objections to the wheel tax increase. "It was my hope that I could, in some way,restore the faith of the citizens in our city. In order to do this I knew I must face the factthat I would become very unpopular."All they are trying to do is protect the citizensproperty and build their town. 1988 -- 25 years ago: RICCA, the Rock Island County Council on Addictions, inconjunction with the Quad City Downs, will hold its annual "Night at the Races" June 2.The benefit "Night at the Races" will raise funds locally to assist in maintaining the twohalfway houses, New Hope Lodge (for women) and Beacon House (for men).