Ventura wants to debate Foster on climate

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Democratic congressional candidate Rachel Ventura said she wants to debate her opponent, incumbent U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, in Joliet on climate-related issues.

Foster, D-Naperville, and Ventura, D-Joliet, participated in a candidates forum hosted by the DuPage Township Democratic Organization on Jan. 22 in Bolingbrook.

About 40 minutes into the event, Foster had to leave for another event. That’s when Ventura took the opportunity to ask him to participate in a debate or forum on climate change.

“The climate crisis is the most pressing issue and we are running out of time,” Ventura said. “We have differing views on how to address the climate crisis and we both have STEM backgrounds. He’s a physicist. I’m a naturalist and mathematician.”

Ventura also said she wanted to hold it in Joliet because of the oil refineries and growing warehouse industry in the area.

While Foster didn’t immediately respond, his campaign manager, Robert Bourret, told Ventura her campaign could get in touch with him about the request.

The two candidates also were asked what they would do to strengthen the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Foster denounced “draconian” funding cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency and science and energy research.

“I’ve been fighting against Trump’s anti-science and anti-environmental policy and the Republican policies before that for as long as I’ve been in Congress,” Foster said.

Ventura touted her support for the Green New Deal, an ambitious proposal to get the country to 100% clean and renewable energy by 2030 and invest trillions of dollars into new jobs and other social programs.

“In order to protect the EPA’s budget, we need to make sure we’re first protecting our planet and the people who live on it,” Ventura said.

Ventura sits on the Will County Board.

Ventura is challenging Foster for the 2020 primary election to represent the 11th Congressional District.

Alex Ortiz

Alex Ortiz is a reporter for The Herald-News in Joliet. Originally from Romeoville, Ill., he joined The Herald-News in 2017 and mostly covers Will County government, politics, education and more. He earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master's degree from Northwestern University.