For Illinois governor: J.B. Pritzker
We backed Republican Bruce Rauner for governor four years ago because we believed he was the change agent needed to turn Illinois around.
The state did see changes under the rookie governor. Unfortunately, too many things went from bad to worse.
Those changes included a crippling budget impasse that accelerated Illinois’ record-breaking race to the bottom. The governor shares blame for that with Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. Their unnecessary battle of wills paralyzed state government and hurt people all over Illinois.
Now Illinoisans are being asked to decide whether Rauner should get a second chance, or if they should opt for new leadership in Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker. The race also includes Libertarian candidate Grayson “Kash” Jackson and Conservative Party candidate Sam McCann. But our next governor is likely to be one of the two billionaires waging the most expensive gubernatorial election in U.S. history.
Pritzker argues that it’s time for a new approach, and he has the plan and the experience needed to fix our state.
Rauner also promises a new start, and wants voters to give him the opportunity to use what he has learned to advance policies that grow Illinois to prosperity. We continue to back many of those changes. But can he find a way to do in the next four years what he couldn’t do in the last four?
Rauner’s new willingness to acknowledge mistakes is welcome. But he’s offered no alternative path to the failed one he’s stubbornly stuck to since 2014. Demonizing Madigan still is no substitute for effective governing.
Pritzker’s campaign raises its own red flags for those who worry that a Democratic governor would remove the last roadblock to a liberal agenda that leads to huge tax hikes and/or plunges Illinois deeper in debt.
Pritzker has worked to show he’s his own man, but he declines to criticize Madigan. Rather, he says, he will consult with legislative leaders to enact policies that are good for Illinois.
That’s probably a wise strategy for someone who expects to win, and doesn’t want to repeat Rauner’s missteps. Pritzker will need support from Madigan & Co. to get anything done.
We also are concerned that Pritzker’s big ideas are short on details. Those concerns are tempered in part by the pragmatic approach Pritzker suggests he’ll take to the job.
For example, a key part of his plan for growing Illinois is swapping Illinois’ flat income tax for a progressive tax. He’s right that Illinois must reform a terrible tax structure that’s too reliant on skyrocketing property taxes.
The trick will be to craft a plan that protects middle-class and poor Illinoisans from large income tax hikes. Pritzker repeatedly has declined to say what a new tax structure should look like. He does, however, promise it won’t result in higher taxes for most Illinoisans. He also says he’ll explore mechanisms to constrain leaders from abusing their new power.
Of course, the most powerful restraint in a democracy is voters. And lawmakers can’t do anything without their approval. If advocates cannot convince Illinoisans that the progressive tax is a better idea and that their leaders can be trusted with one, voters will not approve the constitutional amendment required to make the change.
Pritzker also cautions that restoring Illinois to a national leader will require a series of steps, including spending cuts, boosting education and growing jobs in our state. He’s done more than talk about the latter. He’s done it, for example, at an 1871 tech business incubator that has brought thousands of jobs to Chicago. We need to repeat that success all over our state.
Rauner deserves our gratitude for launching an overdue revolution in Illinois. He also had the right focus for fixing our state. But his my-way-or- the-highway approach doomed most of his best ideas to failure.
Intransigence means gridlock, not growth.
Pritzker advocates a new path of negotiation and compromise, one that needs to be steered by a strong, independent leader who also is not afraid to say no when it is in the best interests of the taxpayers of Illinois.
In the hopes that Pritzker is that leader, he is endorsed.
For Illinois comptroller: Susana Mendoza
We backed Susana Mendoza for Illinois comptroller two years ago based on her energy, ideas, and record of speaking truth to power.
As comptroller, the Chicago Democrat and former state lawmaker has delivered on every score. She’s done the latter with particular relish in her battles with GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner — who, it should be said, has contributed equally to the rancor between the pair.
In spite of that, she’s found a bipartisan path to increase fiscal accountability and transparency in Illinois government. Highlights include the Debt Transparency Act that now requires state agencies to report to the comptroller each month all outstanding unpaid bills, including the cost of late payments and interest penalties. Her Truth in Hiring Act requires that the governor’s budget include all staff salaries instead of hiding them in other state agency budgets. That’s a bad practice that has been employed for years by governors from both parties.
Mendoza says she’s running to build on those and other accomplishments.
First, she must overcome qualified, experienced GOP challenger Darlene Senger. Mendoza also will have to convince voters to support her even though she has yet to say whether she will run for Chicago mayor. Senger has made an issue of Mendoza’s failure to commit to the comptroller’s job. “I’m not running for mayor; I’ll be there to serve the people of Illinois,” Senger promised us.
While we, too, are uncomfortable with Mendoza’s failure to rule out a mayoral run, we cannot in good conscience refuse to support anyone’s effort to win a job they believe is better for them — whether it’s in the private or public sector.
We recognize, however, that it is a pivotal issue to many voters who worry that, if Mendoza is elected mayor, she will surrender the comptroller job in May when the new Chicago mayor is seated. If so, it would be the second time in three years that a vacancy occurred in that office. The last one came in 2015 after the tragic death of Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka shortly after her re-election.
Fortunately, voters frustrated by Mendoza toying with a Chicago run will find a good choice in Senger, a former state representative and Naperville City Council member, who also served two years as Rauner’s deputy chief of staff for legislative affairs.
Senger holds a degree in finance from Purdue University and an MBA from DePaul University. Her financial experience includes overseeing a department of financial analysts and serving as chief financial officer of the Workers’ Compensation Commission. Among her goals is to increase automation of the comptroller’s office.
Senger also wants to merge the offices of comptroller and treasurer. Mendoza doesn’t, and points to the history of corruption in Illinois as the reason to keep them separate.
She is free to disagree with Illinoisans, including us, who believe modern technology and a careful reorganization that protects accountability and security will save a bit of money. But more importantly, it would remove an unnecessary layer of Illinois government.
But we hope that Mendoza will not actively work to keep the final decision about the merger out of the hands of Illinois voters, where it belongs.
In the end, we believe neither Mendoza’s opposition to a merger, nor her consideration of a new job before she wins this one, negate the longterm good she’s done for Illinois in her short time in office.
She says that she still has more to do to help make Illinois more fiscally responsible. Importantly, she also promises that she won’t be afraid to speak up and work for the good of taxpayers, no matter whether the next governor is current foe Rauner or Democrat J.B. Pritzker, whom she supports.
She’s earned the opportunity to prove it.
Mendoza is endorsed.
For Illinois Treasurer: Mike Frerichs
Four years ago, we said that then-state Sen. Mike Frerichs, D-Champaign, had the education and experience necessary to be an effective state treasurer.
But we backed his GOP opponent in large part because we worried that, as a member of the party in power in Springfield, Frerichs would be too cozy with Democratic leaders on critical fiscal issues.
Treasurer Frerichs assuaged those concerns by building an impressive record of fiscal responsibility and bipartisanship that has paid dividends for taxpayers, disabled Illinoisans, college-bound students and their parents, and others.
His legislative success is particularly impressive given the political dysfunction crippling our state government. Among the achievements made by the only Downstater to hold statewide office in Illinois is winning the power to responsibly expand the state's investment portfolio. Illinoisans should have expected good returns on their investments in the recent bull market, Frerichs told us. But his use of that expanded investment authority clearly contributed to boosting the state's return by 450 percent, from $4 million a month to $22 million a month.
Frerichs also has helped Illinoisans save by taking Illinois' once-troubled college savings program from one of the worst in the nation to one of the best, and creating a program that allows families of people living with disabilities to put money away for their longtime care without their loved ones losing the benefits needed to pay for the care they require now.
Also under Frerichs' leadership, more life insurance benefits are getting into the hands of heirs after the policy owner dies. And under his direction, the office has set records in returning unclaimed property to Illinoisans.
Jim Dodge, Republican candidate for treasurer, acknowledges that Frerichs' office has made some progress. But, he told our editorial board, it's not enough.
“Illinois is broke. We are in a financial crisis," he said. He's right. He's also right that the reason for our awful financial fix is "bad financial decision-making in Springfield.”
But he picked the wrong target for changing that in Frerichs. Indeed, we disagree with Dodge's assessment that in his first term Frerichs has focused too little on the performance, and too much on the politics of the state's portfolio.
We suspect, however, that the fiscally conservative Dodge is not alone in thinking that the treasurer's office should focus only on increasing investments, not on creating programs or using the office's power to effect change: for example by providing direct deposits that boost agriculture, or using investments to persuade companies to add people of color and women to their boards. Those who share Dodge's views will find a good alternative in this GOP graduate of DePaul University and University of Chicago, former clerk and current a trustee on the village board of Orland Park.
As for voters who, like us, support combining the treasurer and comptroller's office, both Dodge and Frerichs back such a merger. Frerichs, who voted for it in the Senate, has already begun brainstorming ways to address concerns over oversight, security and fiscal responsibility. Whichever candidate is elected, we trust he will use the treasurer's considerable bully pulpit and knowledge of the office to get the change into voters hands carefully, and quickly.
Dodge is a good choice, but he's offered no good reason to get rid of an incumbent who clearly has earned a second term.
Frerichs is endorsed.
For Illinois Attorney General: Erika Harold
The race for Illinois attorney general pits state Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, against Erika Harold, a Republican lawyer from Champaign.
The fact that Harold is from outside of Chicagoland will be enough to win her the support of many Q-C and Downstate voters weary of a state government dominated by Chicago elected officials.
But this race is about more than geography.
It’s about electing a truly independent attorney general from two strong and qualified candidates.
Harold makes a convincing case that that’s what makes her the right choice.
“We have a political environment in Illinois that is very fractured and very polarized,” she told us. “The fact that I have not held office will equip me to come into an environment and develop relationships with people on both sides of the aisle, and bring them together on the issues where we can find consensus.”
She clearly is no insider. Contrast that with Raoul, an influential and effective state lawmaker who often carries — with the backing of powerful Chicago Democratic leaders — many important, complex, and controversial bills, for example, Illinois’ concealed carry law.
His insider status also was apparent in meetings with our editorial board, when Raoul downplayed the AG’s role in attacking the public corruption that continues to drag down Illinois’ reputation and cost taxpayers millions of dollars.
While we don’t advocate making the AG the state’s chief public corruption investigator, the attorney general does have a responsibility to speak out against corruption wherever he or she finds it. That’s a duty that has been sometimes ignored under longtime AG Lisa Madigan, House Speaker Michael Madigan’s daughter.
Harold also offers the right path for the attorney general to walk in an expanded role as ethical watchdog. “Fighting public corruption is not about using the law to fight political opponents; it’s about holding both parties accountable and trying to foster transparency in government,” she said.
One way to do that, she said, is to use her authority under the Ethics Act to expand resources in the legislative inspector general’s office. That’s the investigative office that most Illinois lawmakers, including Raoul, didn’t even know had gone empty for four years.
Raoul’s experience in the Illinois Senate seat he was appointed to after Barack Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate, also informs his approach to the attorney general’s office.
He intends to be an activist attorney general who would expand the office’s role. We worry about expanding the duties of an office that doesn’t have enough resources to carry out the AG’s current mission, as such things as the backlog of unanswered sunshine law complaints demonstrate.
While many have attacked Harold’s conservative views, she said that, as attorney general, she must and will follow the law. In contrast, Raoul declined to say unequivocally that he could if it is a law with which he disagrees.
Illinois voters are fortunate to have two qualified attorney general candidates from which to choose.
Raoul, who was a successful former prosecutor and an attorney before becoming an influential lawmaker, is smart and thoughtful, and we have no doubt he would be an able, aggressive, activist attorney general.
Harold, a former Miss America, who used the pageant to help put herself through Harvard Law School, also is a smart, thoughtful and experienced lawyer who is passionate about public service and the job.
What gives her the edge is the combination of her ideas, experiences, and, most importantly, an independence from the Illinois political establishment that the position needs and demands.
Harold is endorsed.
For RICo Clerk: Karen Kinney
There’s been plenty of heat generated these days in a race for Rock Island County clerk that pits Democratic incumbent Karen Kinney against Republican Russell Christ.
Much of it has centered on who said and did what when Christ twice opted to vote at his polling place in person on Election Day after having requested an absentee ballot.
From where we sit, far too much energy already has been spent on a pair of incidents that, it’s important to note, did NOT result in anyone ever actually voting improperly.
For our part, we choose to put aside the he-said, she-said fight over this and other political concerns, and focus instead on the task at hand: Finding the best candidate to lead the office whose duties include conducting fair, open, free elections as technology continues to create both new opportunities for voting and new challenges to maintaining a secure system.
Christ is retired after working for Deere & Co. for 43 years, where he said he served customers, dealerships and factories, as well as at Deere & Co. corporate headquarters. That experience, he said, will help him re-evaluate the operations of a county clerk’s office that he says has for too long been in the hands of Democrats. His goal, he said, will be to use the resources of a well-trained staff to provide trusted election results, accurate voter registration data, and a cost-effective operation that is careful with taxpayer funds.
We applaud Christ, who has volunteered as a poll-watcher since 2014, for running and for making ballot security a priority. But we do not share his concerns about the security of the current system used by Kinney’s office. Nor do we believe, as he does, that the county should go back to paper ballots for all elections. That’s a system that’s entirely out of date and out of place in 21st century America, where even more technological changes designed to make voting easier are on the horizon.
Paper ballots also are more costly to use and to process, and we fail to see how they are more secure than a closed electronic voting system, especially in a state with a rich, long history of finding and losing paper ballots that have impacted election results.
Even Kinney’s critics, including Christ, say they are not alleging any voting improprieties have been committed by her office or election judges using the current system. Their goal is to guard against them in the future. We believe that the safeguards for electronic voting currently in place are doing the job. Importantly, so do the people at the Illinois State Board of Elections.
Kinney has eight years of experience running elections as county clerk. In that time, her office has continued to make welcome improvements in the voting process, including adding early-voting centers, sending traveling voting machines to senior centers and village halls, making polling places easier to use and more accessible, and getting out the vote. The office also has effectively managed a growing number of requests for vote-by-mail ballots, and she continues to beef up security to guard against ballot tampering.
She said she’s proud of doing all that while staying under budget for the office while beefing up services in other areas, for example, making genealogical research accessible on the county website. Also coming soon to that website are candidate statements of economic interest (SEI), which are filed with her office.
Kinney said she is ready to serve another term. She’s earned one.
She is endorsed.
For RICo sheriff: Gerry Bustos
In 34 years with the Rock Island County Sheriff’s Department, Gerry Bustos has compiled an impressive record.
The FBI National Academy graduate, who was chief deputy in 2014 when he was appointed sheriff after the resignation of Jeff Boyd, has served or led every one of the office’s divisions. He also is a member, a leader, or a founder of many Q-C public safety partnerships.
After defeating his old boss, Boyd, in the March primary, he’s asking General Election voters to elect him to the job based on that deep and wide body of work. “The sheriff’s office, it’s a perfect fit,” he told us.
But to continue to lead the 185 men and women who serve and protect the county, he must overcome an aggressive challenge from Republican Keko Martinez.
Martinez, a former Marine, also believes his experience, accomplishments and ideas make him the best candidate for the job.
He believes it’s time for a change after six decades of Democratic control of the sheriff’s office, and he thinks he is the change agent the department needs based on his experiences in active duty and the reserves, as a Moline and Rock Island Arsenal police officer, and in private security. His supervisory experience especially qualifies him to be an effective administrator, he said.
If elected, his focus will include boosting morale, increasing community outreach, and being a better steward of county buildings. All are areas in which he said he has shone in previous leadership roles.
Martinez was especially critical of the deterioration of the courthouse that he said would have been better managed had Bustos and previous sheriffs maintained it instead of returning money to the county’s general fund.
He promises both he and his staff will be visible in the community, and he has pledged to use part of his salary for grants for nonprofits that promote patriotism and good morals, and to create an emergency fund for his staff.
We salute Martinez for his service to our nation and community, and for his willingness to take on a leading role in serving and protecting Rock Island County.
But we, too, believe Bustos is the right fit right now for a job that will only get more challenging in the weeks, months, and years ahead.
Bustos knows after the overwhelming rejection of the public safety sales tax he championed that taxpayers expect his office to do more with less.
That won’t get any easier as the county board begins to look at yet another budget in which there are too many demands for too few dollars. As result, the sheriff has found ways to provide a high level of service despite declining resources. Also stretching department resources will be the move to the new courthouse and the demolition of the old one. Making that transition a smooth one is essential.
At the same time, other crucial needs have and will arise. Bustos already is working to meet some of them, including finding ways to get opioid abusers and the mentally ill out of the county jail and into treatment.
Perhaps most important of all, the next sheriff must find ways to upgrade the department’s technology, a goal both candidates support.
Bustos already has been working to get his deputies body cameras, and he’s begun the search for ways to update a primitive radio system with a reach so limited that deputies at times must use cellphones to communicate — while crossing their fingers that their cell service won’t be interrupted during an emergency.
That’s unacceptable, and it must be addressed now for the safety of the deputies and residents of Rock Island County.
We believe Bustos is best positioned to get it done, while continuing to meet the department’s daily challenges. He is endorsed.
For Illinois House District 71: Tony McCombie
Voters in Illinois’ 71st House District will find two quality candidates in GOP state Rep. Tony McCombie, R-Savanna, and Democratic challenger Joan Padilla.
McCombie, the former mayor of Savanna, hit the ground running two years ago in Springfield, where she proved to be a quick study.
She regularly works across the aisle in a Democrat-dominated Statehouse, and has not hesitated to buck her own party leadership on issues that matter to her and to her constituents in the Illinois Quad-Cities region.
The pro-labor, pro-business Republican is as proud of her union endorsements as she is of having been named the Outstanding Freshman Representative by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce.
Worker support for McCombie is hardly surprising. For instance, despite intense pressure from GOP leaders, she opposed making this a right-to-work state because she believed it would be unfair to union workers. Her backing from the business community is equally unsurprising given her support of policies and efforts to grow our state and our region, and her work to help small businesses throughout Rock Island, Henry, Mercer, Whiteside and Carroll counties.
She’s also been a regular visitor to the metro Quad-Cities and area communities to hear constituent concerns and address them, including hosting “Coffee and Conversation” town hall meetings with state Sen. Neil Anderson, R-Andalusia. She says she tries to read almost every bill, and isn’t afraid to ask questions before voting.
“I don’t think there is anybody who can outwork me,” she told our editorial board.
For her part, Padilla, the executive director for Home of Hope Cancer Wellness Center in Dixon, says she’s also ready to work hard to serve the needs of the people of the 71st District.
She decided to get in the race after she saw how hard hit nonprofits were by the two-year budget impasse. “I decided I would like to be their voice,” she told us. “We need to make sure we fulfill our social responsibility to the people who make up our community.”
She’s right, and we salute her decision not to simply stand on the sidelines, but to join the fight.
But nonprofits won’t be her sole focus. Padilla, who lives in Sterling and has served five years on the Sauk Valley Community College Board and is a member of the college foundation board, also plans to push for increased education spending. She backs the graduated income tax, and a tax on recreational marijuana once it is legalized, to help pay for new spending.
Beefing up support for social service and education are more than laudable goals. They’re essential investments that need to be made in Illinois. But finding the money to do so without big tax increases is a huge challenge in a state that is not only broke, but wallowing in unpaid debt.
The long list of things getting in line to use revenues from a progressive tax are precisely why we worry so much that the tax structure created to serve so many masters will be anything but fair. If we are to dig out of our problems and do everything else on our huge and growing wish list, we can’t see how a massive pool of middle-class taxpayers won’t be hit with a substantial state income tax increase.
Like us, McCombie also is worried that a graduated income tax will do real damage to the middle class in Illinois, though she doesn’t oppose putting the issue on the ballot and letting voters decide for themselves.
Padilla is a good choice for frustrated Illinoisans who are searching for a smart, reliable and committed voice for education and Illinois social service agencies and the people they serve.
But because of her experience, independence, energy, hard-charging style, and her successful efforts to serve the workers, individuals, and businesses that make up the 71st District, McCombie has earned our endorsement.
For 72nd Illinois House District: Mike Halpin
In his first term, state Rep. Mike Halpin did as he promised he would two years ago.
The Rock Island Democrat has reliably supported policies and bills that he believes are vital to growing the middle class and protecting workers and those in need in Illinois and the 72nd House District.
Halpin’s legislative focus is likely to remain the same, if he wins a second term on Nov. 6. That seems probable since his opponent, Glen Evans, a Rock Island County Democrat turned Republican, appears to have little support, including from within his own new party.
As for Halpin, his focus is precisely where it should be in a district that encompasses the city of Rock Island, a town that’s hungry for growth and desperately in need of more.
The trouble is that the help it needs includes statewide policies that will make that city, our region, and our entire state more attractive places to do business.
We continue to believe that Illinois can, in large part, grow its way to prosperity. So we remain worried about Halpin’s continued support for such things as a $15 minimum wage, which could cripple restaurants, retailers, and other businesses in border communities such as ours, and creating a fair or progressive income tax we continue to fear will be neither progressive nor fair for the vast majority of Illinois taxpayers, once powerful Democratic legislative leaders are finished with it.
On the flip side, however, we are impressed by how well Halpin has responded when called on to address the needs of his district and our region.
As a freshman lawmaker, he passed 12 bills that were signed into law. Among them is a new state law that allows the Robert Young Mental Health Center in Rock Island to treat Iowa patients to prevent those ordered by the courts into inpatient treatment from being whisked far way from their families when there isn’t a nearby place in Iowa to take them.
On the economic development front, Halpin successfully carried a bill we have long backed to help the Illinois Q-C begin to level the historic economic development playing field with Iowa. The Bicentennial Mississippi River Region Redevelopment Historic Tax Credit Act, which goes into effect New Year’s Day, provides a 25 percent tax credit of eligible expenses to taxpayers living in 34 counties bordering the Mississippi River. Halpin and the Q-C legislative team deserve our thanks for passing a law that has been on the Q-C wish list for years, and for promising to look for ways to expand its impact. Bravo, too, to the team for Illinois’ new energy law that kept the power on at Exelon, and for continuing to back a capital program that includes Phase III of Western Illinois University’s Quad-Cities campus.
Unfortunately, where Evans, an itinerant candidate, stands on those and other issues remains mostly a mystery. He has not responded to our requests for a meeting with our editorial board or reporter interviews since he met with county GOP leaders who asked him to quit the race over his failure to disclose legal proceedings stemming from alleged domestic disputes. Evans declined comment on their concerns, other than to say he would stay in the race.
As for Halpin, he’s campaigned hard. Making his job easier is his ability to point to a solid record of responsively and effectively working to meet local needs. We hope that in a second term, the pragmatic and aggressive approaches with which he addressed the legislation he passed to benefit the Q-C will inform his decisions on other bills designed to grow Illinois.
He is endorsed.
For Congress, Cheri Bustos
Any GOP unknown who chose to take on three-term Congresswoman Cheri Bustos would have faced an uphill battle.
If anyone doubted her popularity, the Moline Democrat’s win by a wide margin two years ago in a 17th Congressional District that went big for Donald Trump should have convinced them.
But Republican candidate Bill Fawell also is fighting for the job with both hands tied behind his back, after losing the support of key party leaders, including state Republican Party chairman Tim Schneider, 17th Congressional District state committeewoman Jan Weber, and Rock Island County Republican Central Committee chair Drue Mielke.
Fawell only has himself to blame for their defection, thanks to his prodigious appetite for entertaining wild, and sometimes frightening, conspiracy theories about such things as 9/11 and deadly school shootings.
He told our editorial board that the theories and posts he shares on social media, and the comments he makes — for example, a recent Facebook post that said, “Maybe we should pull out of everywhere in the Middle East and go liberate Saudi Arabia” — are ignored by the mainstream media. He calls them “lies of omission” that should be shared and debated.
Perhaps. But not by the person who represents us in Congress.
That issue alone makes Bustos the easy and overwhelming choice for our endorsement. Fortunately, it’s not the only thing this rising Democratic star has to recommend her to voters.
Since she went to Congress in 2012, the former East Moline City Council member has fought for the things that are important to the people of our district. She’s worked to give the Rock Island Arsenal the tools it needs to meet the needs of the modern-day military while protecting crucial well-paying jobs. She’s advocated for farmers, taking a leadership role in negotiating a farm bill that will be good for Q-C soybean and corn growers. She’s worked to help create jobs in a region and state that desperately needs them.
Her focus has remained local despite a growing role in national leadership of the Democratic Party. “The people I represent are here; they’re not in Washington, D.C.,” she told our editorial board. She’s backed that up with a heavy schedule of local events that include her Cheri on Shift efforts to reach out to everyday voters. She expects to keep a heavy local schedule even if she is successful in running for assistant House Democratic leader, if her party recaptures the House on Nov. 6.
If she wins, she would be the fourth-highest ranking House Democrat. That obviously would be good for the Midwest, and the Q-C region. “It’s a chance to elevate our voice at a national level,” she said in announcing her bid.
If she continues her party leadership climb — and we wouldn’t bet against her — we hope that she will not entirely abandon the bipartisan approach to governing that helped contribute to her successes in her first six years.
We were concerned to discover, for example, that she no longer is a member of the Bipartisan Working Group that met to find common ground. And her rhetoric these days appears to be more sharply partisan. Still, it is election season, and as a ranking leader in her own party, she has a duty to fight to elect other Democrats.
The real test will come if she is required to choose between her party’s demands and her district’s needs.
So as we urge readers to vote for Bustos, we do so with the expectation that she will continue to do as she has in the past: Put her constituents before party politics.