The race for Illinois Senate in the redrawn 36th District features a Democrat incumbent with a history of delivering for the area and a Republican challenger who is an American hero with a burning desire to turn Springfield on its ear.
The race between Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline, and former secret service agent Bill Albracht has been a contentious and expensive one.
Mr. Albracht is a decorated Vietnam War veteran who brought the fight for the rights of those much-maligned veterans home. His service to his community through organizations like the Vietnam Veterans of America local chapter, has been as admirable as his service to his nation. In addition to a stellar military career, he spent years protecting American presidents.
He has the courage and the will to do battle with the entrenched powers in Springfield. What he lacks, we fear, is the way. He would not have the kind of clout required to get much done as a freshman lawmaker in a minority party that seems unlikely to pick up much ground on Nov. 6.
We share Mr. Albracht's dismay with the continued failure of those in power in Springfield from Sen. Jacobs' party to get meaningful pension and other reforms done. But Mr. Albracht offers no road map to accomplish what Sen. Jacobs, his colleagues, and Chicago Democrat leaders haven't.
Mr. Albracht and others also are right to question Sen. Jacobs regarding past intemperate remarks and actions. We share their concerns and hope that the senator has, as promised, learned from them.
Fortunately, they haven't impacted his effectiveness in representing Q-C interests and that is the overriding issue, for us: which candidate is best positioned to deliver for the Quad-Cities area.
When the measure is capturing money for projects key to our economic prosperity, it favors Sen. Jacobs. Along with other members of the Quad-Cities legislative coalition, he has delivered in spades on a host of key projects, including Amtrak and Western Illinois University's Quad-Cities riverfront campus.
With millions in capital budget dollars already committed to the Q-C and millions more needed to finish what has been started, it's vital to have someone in Springfield who is positioned to leverage those dollars for us. Indeed, Sen. Jacobs has said he wants to serve just six more years (the current two year term, and one more four year one), to see things like WIU-QC through to the finish.
"We not only need to build the next phase (Phase III), which we are putting together, but we need to be funded," Sen. Jacobs said. "And, that's the tricky part in government." Sen. Jacobs has shown himself to be especially adept at maneuvering through the legislative sausage-making factory that is Springfield. Literally billions in capital development funds remain at stake.
What makes him so effective? He isn't afraid to ask, Senate President John Cullerton, the powerful Chicago Democrat who controls the General Assembly, along with House Speaker Michael Madigan, told our editorial board during a recent Q-C visit. Just as importantly, he knows how to ask to get results.
We hope that this is just the beginning of Mr. Albracht's political career. But because of his record of delivering what the Q-C area needs, and his commitment to finishing the job, Sen. Jacobs is recommended.