Bryant, Griffin at odds during debate
Candidates vying for the 115th House seat in southern Illinois squared off Thursday night during a debate.
Democratic challenger Marsha Griffin took on incumbent Republican Rep. Terri Bryant at Southern Illinois University to a packed crowd of voters.
The pair clashed on how best to solve the state’s budget impasse and the bill backlog of $8 billion.
Bryant has only served one term as legislator for the 115th district, but she said she’s spent her time fighting for southern Illinois’ interests. She says she was vital in passing Molly’s Law and fought hard to make sure Illinois colleges and universities got a fair share of stopgap funding.
Griffin said she spent years as a teacher and has seen the state of education in schools and in colleges like SIU. Griffin says the damage Republicans are doing to the state through the impasse is causing them irreparable harm. She says they need to be fully funded immediately.
But both Griffin and Bryant agree the school funding formula needs to change to better help struggling Illinois school districts that receive $7,000 per student, whereas wealthier districts receive more than $30,000 per student. Both said southern Illinois kids deserve better.
"We need to make sure that our students here in southern Illinois have every tool they need to equip them for a 21st century workplace. We have make sure that it gets done," said Griffin.
"One thing is for sure. The formula has to be changed, because we cannot change or give property tax relief in a meaningful way until we’re able to change the funding formula for schools," said Bryant.
While Bryant calls this year’s funding for schools a hard-fought win for southern Illinois, Griffin says more needs to be done for students to be able to succeed.
The election is Nov. 8.