SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) – In a candidate forum hosted by WTTW, WBEZ, and the Chicago Sun-Times Thursday night, Democratic incumbent Tammy Duckworth and Republican challenger Kathy Salvi showcased their policy proposals if elected to the U.S. Senate.

One major point of discussion was immigration reform. Both Salvi and Duckworth said there is a crisis at the southern border, but disagreed on what to do to fix it. 

“Whatever we do on immigration reform, I go by three things, it has to be practical, it has to be humane, and it has to be fair,” Duckworth said. “I think a guest worker program is an important thing so that people can actually work and we know where they are at.” 

Salvi criticized Duckworth’s voting record on helping Customs Border Patrol. 

“Tammy Duckworth has voted against every single protection on the southern border,” Salvi said. “You voted against 18,000 new customs and border patrol, which the Customs Border Patrol begged for.”

The most contentious part of the debate was the topic of abortion. Salvi attacked Duckworth, calling her “a radical extremist” for abortion rights. 

“I am pro-life, I’m pro woman, I’m pro child, and my entire life I have worked to support women.”  Salvi said. “The only radical extremist on the issue of abortion sits next to me Senator Duckworth.”

Duckworth said she only supports codifying Roe v. Wade into law and mimicking Illinois’ Reproductive Health Act. Her campaign criticized Salvi for avoiding a question on Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) abortion ban bill

“Despite her continued refusals to answer the question, it’s well-documented where Kathy Salvi stands on this issue: she would help bring about a future where our nation throws women and doctors in jail for carrying out personal medical decisions,” Tammy Duckworth’s campaign said in a statement released after the debate.  

Viewers in Champaign watching the debate from WILL studios asked the pair of candidates about making college more affordable. Duckworth praised President Biden’s student loan forgiveness executive order. 

“I think what we need to look at is ‘how do we bring down the high cost of tuition’, so that anybody can go to college and come out debt free,” Duckworth said. “Not free college, but debt-free.”

Salvi praised LIFT in Mattoon, a high school where students extensively learn trade skills, and emphasized building up a workforce outside of 4-year higher education institutions.   

“I’m also a big fan of community colleges where kids can go and determine what they’d like to do and pick up skills and leave college with a base,” Salvi said. “Our tuition is too high and kids are being shortchanged in the classroom, both in the elementary and secondary.” 

Both candidates also confirmed they will concede if they lose and said the 2020 election was legitimate.