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 Thursday, April 24, the 114th day of 2014. There are 251 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: We learn that it is a contemplation to start a paper mill in Rock Island during the summer by a gentleman from the East. 1889 -- 125 years ago: The gates of Oklahoma were swung open at noon today, and a throng of more than 30,000 settlers started over its soil. 1914 -- 100 years ago: The Iowa Coliseum Co. was incorporated with $40,000 capital and planned a building on 4th Street between Warren and Green streets in Davenport. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Plans are being discussed for resurfacing the streets in the entire downtown district of Rock Island. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Some 45 jobs will be created at J.I. Case Co.'s Rock Island plant in a expansion of operations announced yesterday afternoon at the firm's headquarters in Racine, Wis. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Gardeners and farmers cheered, but not all Quad-Citians found joy Saturday as more than an inch of rain fell on the area. Motorists faced dangerous, rain-slick roads as the water activated grease and grime that had built up during dry weather.