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WCBU is committed to bringing you NPR's special coverage of the 2020 election.The League of Women Voters Greater Peoria and Fondulac District Library hosted a Candidates Forum on Thursday, Sept. 17 at 6 p.m.Click here to read about or listen to the forum. Local Races91st House District:Mark Luft (R)Josh Grys (D)92nd House District:Jehan Gordon-Booth (D)Chad Grimm (L) 46th Senate District:David Koehler (D)Mary Burress (R)

Green Party's U.S. Senate Candidate Advocates Universal Health Care, Steep Military Budget Cuts

David Black speaks
Tim Shelley
/
Peoria Public Radio
U.S. Senate candidate David Black of the Green Party holds a news conference in front of the Peace and Harvest sculptures at Main and Jefferson in downtown Peoria, Sept. 22, 2020.

Rockford attorney David Black is running as the Illinois Green Party's candidate for U.S. Senate.

Black spoke Tuesday in downtown Peoria in front of the "Peace" and "Harvest" sculptures commissioned by the U.S. government's Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression.

The candidate said while Democratic incumbent Dick Durbin has "done some good things" during his quarter-century in the Senate, he hasn't gone far enough on cutting military spending or bolstering access to health care.

"He has not signed on, very importantly, to a major tenet of the Green Party, which is a single-payer health care system," Black said. "Because it's clear the Obamacare system, for whatever reason, or because of what the Trump administration has done, is failing woefully. And we need a better alternative."

Black said he wants to cut the military's budget by at least 50%, backs the Green New Deal, and supports universal health care.

Black said a court ruling lowering the threshold of signatures needed to qualify for the ballot this November due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has led to a more diverse field of candidates.

"We are running a record number of candidates around the state, even without an established party," Black said. "But we could certainly do a lot more if we were able to win that status."

Black said he wants to "reimagine" the police by lowering the level of police violence, and sending social workers on mental health calls. He also said his legal work on criminal record sealings and expungements gives him a unique perspective on the racial inequity in the justice system.

"I see the great disparity in the charges brought against African Americans," Black said. "Some of whom were arrested 30 or more times without any convictions."

Republican Mark Curran and Libertarian Danny Malouf also are running for U.S. Senate in Illinois this year.

Black is hosting a virtual open house at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

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