Schilling and Bustos face off in final 17th district debate

By WEEK Producer

October 25, 2012 Updated Oct 26, 2013 at 12:54 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Thursday night, the 17th district's congressional candidates Cheri Bustos and incumbent Bobby Schilling squared off in a debate televised on WTVP.

The debate focused on job creation, the budget and even touched on the negative attack ads that many of have seen.

Thursday evening, Democrat Cheri Bustos and Republican Bobby Schilling focused a great deal on job creation and retention in America.

"We need to partner with community colleges," said Bustos. "We've got a great community college environment already in place to look at the skills gap. We actually have jobs that we can't fill right now. We need to make sure that we are addressing these policies that actually incentivize businesses to send jobs to places like China."

"We have the highest corporate tax rate in the world," said Shilling. "We have an administration that has put on more than $100,000,000 pieces of regulation than George Bush and Bill Clinton combined. You want to talk about shipping jobs overseas? That's how you do that, when you over-regulate and over-tax."

After weeks of negative ads, the candidates addressed them and used the chance to take another jab at each other.

"The ads 'Bobby Schilling is going to end medicare as you know it'. That was Politifacts 'lie of the year' last year, it got that dubious award," said Schilling. "Yet my opponent runs that on a personal level."

"They've been called wreckless and irresponsible fiction so congressman what you are saying is simply not true," said Bustos.

Despite the wet and cold weather, dozens headed to the streets ahead of the debate to show support for their candidates.

Peorian Deborah Johnson said she supports Bustos and calls Schilling part of the one percent.

"She's for the middle class families to get extra education, more jobs, and that's what we need," said Johnson.

Meanwhile, Walt Nenycz came all the way from Moline to rally for Congressman Schilling.

"Bobby Schilling is going to give this county back to us," said Nenycz. "He's working to keep our jobs going, to create jobs."

The 17th congressional district covers parts of 14 counties, including Rockford, the Quad Cities, Galesburg, Pekin, and parts of Peoria.

Thursday night was the final debate between Schilling and Bustos before the November 6 election.

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