August 07, 2022


Where 6th District Republicans stand on climate change, humanity’s role in it

Most of the Republicans running for Illinois’ 6th Congressional District seat said they believe humankind has a role in global climate change -- but not all are convinced.

The GOP candidates in the June 28 primary are energy consultant Niki Conforti of Glen Ellyn, Rob Cruz of Oak Lawn, Burr Ridge Mayor Gary Grasso, lawyer Scott Kaspar of Orland Park, Oak Lawn real estate broker Catherine A. O’Shea and Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau.

They discussed climate change in Daily Herald questionnaires and follow-up emails.

Cruz said he isn’t sure if he has enough information to opine on whether humankind is affecting climate change. The government should support “reliable sources of energy while working on realistic alternative energy sources,” Cruz said.

Conforti said she thinks human behavior is among the factors behind climate change. There may also be natural causes, she said.

Fully shifting to renewable energy sources isn’t feasible, however, she said. Further innovation should be encouraged, she added, and the government should support more than wind and solar energy.

“My position is that we need a multipronged approach to satisfying our energy needs,” Conforti said.

Grasso also believes humans have played a role in climate change, pointing to scientific studies on the subject.

“The U.S. can and should strive over time to lessen (its) carbon footprint,” Grasso said. “But in the short term, the economy and energy independence take a priority.”

A global commitment is needed to make any effective changes to the climate, he added.

Kaspar said humanity may be a factor in climate change, but he noted the climate has been changing “since the dawn of time.”

He opposes “Green New Deal” ecological and economic proposals, saying they “would bankrupt every American long before we would see any appreciable difference in the climate.”

“We need a long-term energy plan that continues to lift humans out of poverty, not drive Americans into it,” Kaspar said.

Like Kaspar, Pekau noted the earth’s climate has always changed. Still, he acknowledges that growing human population has played a role.

To solve climate-related challenges, Pekau said the U.S. must become more energy independent by: using coal in cleaner ways; producing solar, geothermal and hydroelectric power; and investing more in nuclear power.

O’Shea didn’t directly answer the question and didn’t respond to requests for clarity. She said people “must respect our land, water and all God’s creations.”

The newly redrawn 6th District includes much of the West and Southwest suburbs in Cook and DuPage counties.

The winner of the GOP primary will face one of three Democrats in the Nov. 8 general election: incumbent U.S. Rep. Sean Casten of Downers Grove; U.S. Rep. Marie Newman of La Grange, who now represents the 3rd District but is running in the 6th after boundaries changed last year; and Chicagoan Charles M. Hughes.