For years we've insisted that it is the duty of our lawmakers in Washington to bring federal tax dollars back to the region for worthwhile projects. We're not talking about bridges to nowhere or studies of the mating habits of Asian beetles, but projects that promise jobs and a better quality of life. |
In his short tenure in Congress, Phil Hare has delivered many such projects.
The list includes Quad-Cities to Chicago rail service, money for a road to serve the Western Illinois University Quad-Cities Riverfront Campus, appropriating $27.6 million for the Arsenal Support Program Initiative to bolster our largest local employer, money for a new mass transit maintenance facility, and $1 million for a long-overdue update of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center.
That's an impressive tally and is hardly inclusive. Indeed, if you subscribe to former U.S. House Speaker Tip O'Neil's favorite axiom, "all politics is local," the Rock Island Democrat would seem an uncontested choice on Tuesday. Trouble is, voters also must judge Congress on how its actions on national issues impact families at home.
Rep. Hare acknowledges differences with our editorial board on several such key issues. Those differences haven't been enough to override our strong support for him in the past. But these are extraordinary times. Mr. Hare is locked in a contest with Republican Bobby Schilling. A Schilling victory, coupled with other Republican victories, could positively affect the unbridled control enjoyed by President Obama (who we endorsed in his presidential bid) and the Democrat Congress.
We believe, as do many Americans, that the one-party rule in Washington is propelling our country in the wrong direction on several issues that greatly impact Main Street.
The most serious single action was adoption of the mammoth health care "reform" bill that promises little to truly improve American health care even as it grants huge authority to unelected bureaucrats to alter health care delivery, imposes new taxes and forces Americans to buy health insurance. That's what happens when such major social policy is crafted by members of one political party behind closed doors. Rep. Hare says he supports the bill as a good start that can be improved upon.
We'd prefer Congress replace it with a law that doesn't threaten to put some companies out of business, drive many private employers to drop health care insurance for their workers, and result in all of us paying more to the federal government in taxes, fees and penalties. We also differ with Mr. Hare on fiscal policy. Democrats say that without the bailouts and the takeover of the auto industry, our economy would be even worse. We'll bow to the experts there. Our criticism rests on the fact that too much money was misspent and too few dollars were allocated to directly creating jobs. We also disagree with Rep. Hare on trade pacts that he says cost America jobs, but we believe help make our region's agribusiness concerns competitive in today's global markets.
We also disagree with Rep. Hare on the Employee Free Choice Act, the so-called card check bill that would remove the requirement for secret ballots in unionization campaigns. And we don't see eye-to-eye with him on the cap and trade measure that would hit our individual wallets hard while doing little to nothing for our environment.
Mr. Schilling's opponents say that the former insurance agent, now the owner of a Moline pizza parlor, lacks the experience needed to get the job done in Washington for the 17th District. We suggest that his days as a union steward coupled with his business background would serve the district well as our nation tries to cope with the lingering recession and the hangover from the spending binge our children and grandchildren will be paying off.
Mr. Schilling says his top goal is to balance the federal budget looking first to economies rather than tax increases. He also touts a Bob's for Jobs program, which is lacking in detail, but appears headed in the right direction with the goal of creating a business-friendly climate that will make manufacturers want to locate in America.
Mr. Schilling says he, too, is bothered by many of the key components of the health care bill that worry us. He doesn't think repeal of the bill is likely, but suggests that if the GOP makes enough gains in Congress, the most egregious measures can be stripped individually and the most glaring omissions can be addressed.
Though he wants government to tighten its belt and cut waste, he says he would champion important local projects in Congress. "What I kind of look for is if it is an investment in creating jobs. Phil has done a good job. The things he has brought back to the district is pretty decent stuff ...," he said. "I'm not afraid of bringing stuff in. I think earmark reform needs to be done so there are no more 'margins at midnight.'"
The race also features Roger K. Davis who says he is running under the Green Party label but does not support its platform. He definitely marches to a different drum, making the contest a two-candidate race. We admire his effort.
A word about how the race has been conducted. It has been a nasty contest from the start, fed by avid supporters on both sides. Politics should not be a contact sport and there is no room for intimidation in the democratic process. Perhaps it was the heat of battle.
The fact is Mr. Hare and Mr. Schilling have deep fundamental differences providing plenty of fodder for useful debate.
It's those differences that our editorial board weighed in reaching our decision to recommend a vote for Mr. Schilling even as we thank Mr. Hare for his successful and hard work on behalf of his district.
Andalusia, IL Details
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