As Team America readers know, 58th Legislative District candidate Lauren Turelli has been challenging her opponent, Dr. Mark Neerhof, on the best way to reform the state Medicare system, with part of that challenge playing out right here on the blog with dueling press releases.
Well, things have now risen to a new level, with Neerhof deciding he's played enough of the defensive game on Medicaid and declining to substantively respond to Turelli's most recent press release, but then going on the attack with a claim that Turelli has misrepresented her educational credentials.
First, Turelli's latest shot on Medicare:
TURELLI CHALLENGES OPPONENT TO JUSTIFY
OPPOSITION TO COMMON-SENSE MEDICAID REFORMS
LAKE FOREST – Republican State Representative candidate Lauren Turelli challenged her opponent in the March 20th primary election, Mark Neerhof, to justify why he opposes common-sense reforms to Illinois' Medicaid program that could save Illinois taxpayers over $2 billion per year.
"As the Medicaid rolls skyrocket due to mismanagement and fraud, it's time to implement key reforms to ensure that the Illinois citizens who truly need this assistance are being served, and that taxpayers are not being fleeced," said Turelli. More to the point, Turelli noted that, "my opponent’s refusal to support common-sense reforms that save billions of dollars show he is not the real deal – not a true fiscal conservative."
At a recent candidate forum where Turelli reiterated her support of $2 billion in proposed Medicaid cuts, her opponent said ‘that makes no sense’. Turelli’s proposed reforms will look at all components – providers, patients, managed care, income tests and asset verification – of the broken Medicaid system to achieve significant cost reductions. These reforms and other common-sense measures are estimated to save taxpayers over
$2 billion per year.
"In order to fix Illinois, we need transparency and an end to currying favor with special interest groups. Dr. Neerhof needs to explain why he is opposed to common-sense reforms – a true fiscal conservative will back $2 billion in common-sense cuts", concluded Turelli.
I sent that along to Neerhof's campaign, which responded as follows:
"I received the release from Lauren Turelli's campaign. The release is so false and untruthful that is does not deserve a response."
Neerhof then changed the subject and upped the ante, claiming:
Lauren Turelli Claims Degree From Cambridge Which The University Says She Does Not Have
Lauren Turelli Has Questions to Answer
Lake Forest—Today, Republican candidate for Illinois’ 58th district Dr. Mark Neerhof’s campaign is calling for Lauren Turelli to explain why she has been telling voters since 2009 that she is a graduate of the University of Cambridge, while the school says in a letter "she was unsuccessful in her studies and withdrew."
Turelli, as an unsuccessful candidate for West Deerfield Township Supervisor claimed to have graduated from the University, and she continued to make these claims during her failed run for State Representative in 2010 and to this very day. Voters are entitled to the truth, and they are entitled to not send someone who misleads voters about their credentials to Springfield. Clearly, Ms. Turelli’s untruthful claim would make her unelectable in a general election.
Brad Goodman, an aide to Neerhof’s campaign said, "Lauren Turelli has a lot of explaining to do because the Republican voters of the 58th District want a viable general election nominee. We have plenty of corrupt people in Springfield who do not tell the truth already, and we certainly do not need any more of them. It’s unfathomable that Turelli thought no one would ever look at her back ground and it makes a pretty strong statement about her that she has been running with this storyline for several years."
An Illinois Review article posted on 2/21/12 shows Turelli avoiding responding to this important question and then sending a convoluted response which only seems to show more so that her claim of graduating from Cambridge is untruthful.
In short, Turelli has serious questions to answer, but the answers are simple. Prove you graduated from Cambridge even though the school says you did not, or explain why you have been misleading voters in your campaigns for the last 3 years.
Turelli in turn responded with this statement:
I attended Cambridge University where I fulfilled the requirements for an advanced course of study in International Relations, conducted research and wrote a thesis on U.S. Aid Policies to Israel and Egypt. It has come to my attention that some biographical notes on websites not under the control of my campaign for State Representative may inaccurately reflect my post-graduate work at the University of Cambridge. I am working now to ensure those sites have the proper information.
Got all that? Wonder what's next...
UPDATED: Well, I asked for what was next, didn't I? And so, here's the next salvo coming from the Neerhof campaign:
"Lauren Turelli has misled voters for the last 3 years. She never graduated from the University of Cambridge, even though she repeatedly made this claim on websites and submissions to surveys that were under her complete control, and even on her own letterhead. She refused to acknowledge that she never graduated and that she has no qualification from the University of Cambridge whatsoever. Lauren continues to fail to accept responsibility by admitting she was wrong and acknowledging it was her responsibility and no one else’s. Lauren Turelli insults the intelligence of Republicans and all voters with the statement she released today. We already have too many corrupt politicians in Springfield that do not tell us the truth. We do not need another."