Cheri Bustos is not a millionaire who used her position as East Moline alderman to build a road to her country club, while blithely hiking water rates.
U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling, R-Colona, is not a wealthy slave to the Tea Party out to send jobs overseas and bankrupt grandma while enriching his rich friends.
You might believe all that if all that you knew about the candidates for Congress in the 17th District was what you heard on TV ads fueled by millions in aptly named "dark" money. Nothing could be further from the truth and an irresponsible ad war fueled largely by outside dollars does a disservice to two caring, qualified public servants.
Fortunately, there is no dearth of good information. For example, today the pair offers the last of six columns addressing the issues facing this district. Please take the time to read them in Viewpoints today. If you didn't see or save them, the others are available at Election Central on QCOnline.com. They illustrate why both deserve your consideration. Based on ours, we believe Mr. Schilling's solid performance as a rookie has earned him a return trip to Washington.
Not that his Democratic challenger isn't qualified to lead. Ms. Bustos, who neither belongs to a country club nor lives on the road made famous in that cartoonish ad, is a hard-working wife and mother, who made tough, but responsible choices while a member of the East Moline City Council. After a respected career as a Q-C journalist, she worked as a health care executive. Her rapid rise to the top tier of the health system she served is impressive and suggests she would be a quick study in Congress.
Not surprisingly, her views closely reflect those of her mentor, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill. That is not to suggest that she would be anyone's puppet. Ms. Bustos has put down deep roots in the Quad-Cities and we're convinced she has the area's best interest at heart.
We are not sure, however, that she advocates the best road to get there. For example, scuttling free trade agreements that help the U.S. compete in a global economy, doing nothing while Social Security and Medicare hurtle toward disaster, and hoisting the canard that we can tax the small number of wealthy Americans enough to eliminate our economic woes are more of the shortsighted policies that have helped to make a bad economy worse.
Though a conservative who identifies with what he calls the "Taxed Enough Already Party," Mr. Schilling has taken a pragmatic approach to representing a district that includes the more liberal Quad-Cities. He has shown a welcome willingness to reach across the aisle and put the needs of his district first. An early critic of Amtrak, he pushed for a Quad-Cities to Chicago passenger route, no doubt to the dismay of Tea Party backers. He made few friends among House leadership by pushing the sale of the Thomson prison to the federal government over the objections of a longtime fixture in Congress and his own House speaker.
One of our concerns two years ago was the novice politician's apparent lack of knowledge about the Arsenal. We needn't have worried. He has been a tireless champion of our No. 1 employer, helping pass key legislation making the island more competitive and thus helping to secure its future.
Also, two years ago, the recently passed Affordable Care Act played a major part in our recommending him for Congress. Today there are still more questions than answers regarding this complete overhaul of the nation's health care system. We had hoped that Ms. Bustos' health care expertise would provide insight and direction in the fight to keep the best parts of the ACA and to fix the worst. Her campaign has offered little of either.
We commend Ms. Bustos for running and believe she would make an effective member of Congress, but based on his record and positions on the key issues, Mr. Schilling is recommended.
Today is Friday, March 7, the 66th day of 2014. There are 299 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: The ferry boat came up to her dock yesterday and was punching away at the ice, which is crowded up against the Iowa shore. 1889 -- 125 years ago: J.C. Bromley, of Rock Island, has received a patent on a steam activated valve. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Major. C.W. Hawes, head clerk of the Modern Woodmen of America, was honored by department chiefs on his 73rd birthday 1939 -- 75 years ago: Mayor Robert Galbraith declared that 75 percent of the people here have talked to "favor construction of Rock Island's new city hall in Spencer Square." 1964 -- 50 years ago: C.H. Langman & Sons, Rock Island, has been awarded the general contract for partial rehabilitation and modernization of the main building at the East Moline State Hospital. The Langman firm bid $424,839. 1989 -- 25 years ago: The cost of living in the Quad-Cities is 6.8 percent less than the average of 260 metropolitan areas.