ON POINT / Elections: Some thoughts
The midterm general elections are occurring in four weeks, on November 6.
First the die disclaimer. I am a registered Republican voter and have run for elected office under the Republican label. Having established that, let me state my total contempt for radical partisan politics.
I learned a valuable lesson 40 years ago while living in Springfield and working as a probation officer. My Democratic boss sought diligently to keep his office out of politics, and he was distressed if any of us campaigned for anyone. I chose to pass out election brochures for the Republican State’s Attorney on a canvass the city date. We were all then invited to the State’s Attorney’s home for a private chili supper.
I learned more about politics at that supper than I ever did before or after. The cook in the kitchen was my boss’s boss, a Democratic circuit judge. The judge was not actively campaigning so broke no ethical rules for judges. I saw the friendship between the judge and state’s attorney with mutual respect and appreciation for the other’s skills overriding partisan politics. Both individuals went on to have long and fulfilling careers under their respective party labels.
Please take some time and get to know the candidates running for office and their positions on issues. Can they be counted on to make difficult decisions, or do they just spout a party line? Both major parties tend to put forth a message that inspires their base, but in reality may be impossible to implement. I am inclined to vote for an incumbent if that person has acted with integrity and decisiveness on behalf of the constituency, regardless of political label At the same time, I can be swayed by a candidate who offers new insights into solving problems. We need elected officials who get the job done and don’t just talk about it. If a candidate doesn’t provide you with a road map of where they wish to go, it is probably time to look at another candidate.
The Illinois governor’s race is a perfect example of a political dilemma for the voter. Governor Rauner alienated much of his base when he approved legislation that supported abortion. Rauner has simply been unable to reach across the aisle and work with Speaker Mike Madigan. I applaud Rauner for seeking to address the financial crisis in Illinois, but nothing gets done without Madigan, as the Republicans simply do not have the votes in Springfield and that situation is unlikely to change any time soon. Both Edgar and Thompson were able to work with Madigan. This confrontation appears to have become personal between the two individuals and the rest of us are paying the price.
Pritzker does himself no favors with his political and personal machinations. Gutting a residence in Chicago of toilets to get a property tax reduction looks petty and juvenile, if not totally inappropriate. Pritzker then tells us he will address the state’s financial woes with a new graduated income tax formula. The problem is he has simply failed to fill in the numbers in his formula. Then we remember the FBI overhear tapes between him and Blago and we simply do not know who this candidate is.
The attorney general race pits a career Chicago politician, Kwame Raoul, against a Champaign attorney, Erika Harold. Harold is pretty much running a grassroots campaign against the Chicago establishment. I have met her and came away with an appreciation for her spunk and intellect.
Locally we have two open and contested judicial races in the 6th Circuit. Republicans Roger Webber and Randy Rosenbaum are facing Democrats Ramona Sullivan and Chad Beckett for those two open seats.
All four candidates have been invited to an open forum meet the candidate night at the Clinton American Legion building on Tuesday, October 23 at 6 p.m. The meeting is being jointly hosted by the DeWitt County Bar Association, Clinton Rotary and Clinton Kiwanis clubs.
None of these groups is endorsing any candidate; they simply want the public to meet the judicial candidates and afford them the opportunity to meet DeWitt County voters. The meeting will be during the Kiwanis regularly scheduled Tuesday meeting.
There will be a meal served by the Legion, cost is $10 for the meal, but you do not need to partake of the meal. If you wish to eat, please call Joe Taylor’s office and reserve a meal space.
At about 6:30 p.m. the judicial candidates will each address the audience with their thoughts on being a judge and be available for questions and answers.
This meet the judge candidates is a truly nonpartisan meeting put on by these groups to better inform the public of who the candidates are. Your attendance is requested and appreciated.