Four years ago, Gazette Chicago endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton in the Illinois Democratic presidential primary. Clinton beat Sanders in a contentious primary that resulted in a significant number of angry or disillusioned Sanders supporters who, in the general election, stayed home or voted for Donald Trump or Green Party Candidate Jill Stein in the critical swing states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, thereby handing the presidency to Trump and the GOP. That was a travesty.
We continue to support Sanders on the issues. He would abolish capital punishment and private prisons, mandate paper election ballots, construct affordable housing and be open to rent control, bring back the Glass-Steagall act that kept banks from wrecking the economy through
irresponsible speculation, make the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share of taxes, assure a $15 minimum wage, promote free college and student debt forgiveness, and guarantee Medicare-for-All.
And, we are not troubled or frightened by his self-described label of “democratic socialist.” Having Bernie Sanders as president won’t mean that communism will seep into our democracy, so we wish the pundits and centrists in the Democratic Party would quiet their siren songs. If Sanders is the nominee, Americans will learn that Sanders’ “democratic socialism” is nothing more than Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal or Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society—both popular programs that transformed the country.
Pundits say that Sanders can not beat Trump in November. We disagree. Trump was elected in a sea change election. People who are fed up with the current administration can create their own tidal wave, and that was proven in the midterms in 2018.
We urge Sanders not to fall into the GOP trap of trying to defend himself concerning things he did or didn’t say or do years ago. Trump never does. Instead, Sanders should go on the attack about what is wrong under Trump and how Sanders can fix it. When the GOP brings up the Soviet communism that has nothing to do with Sanders, Democrats must bring up the very real servitude that Trump has shown for his hero, Russian President Vladimir Putin. To any charge that the GOP tries to throw against Sanders, Democrats must counter with pointing out the very real failures of Trump.
We also like Senator Elizabeth Warren’s progressive ideas, and think she would make a fine vice presidential choice and a strong voice on the campaign trail.
Sanders ignites the same type of passion in his followers that Trump excites in his. Democrats must fight fire with fire, and stand a better chance of winning with Sanders than with a centrist/right candidate whom the Democratic National Committee might love, but who engenders no passion or excitement among the voters.
Mainstream Democrats and Sanders supporters, who are generally not Democratic Party regulars, must work together in this election. The stakes are too high to do anything less. Democratic organizations must get behind Sanders 100%, not give him lukewarm support because he wasn’t the party regulars’ first choice. On the other hand, Sanders’ followers will have to put on their “big boy pants” and vote for down-ticket Democrats in November—something they haven’t proven to do in significant numbers. Sanders will not be able to accomplish what he wants without Democratic members of congress and senators, along with more Democratic officials around the country.
Four years ago, we pointed out that a progressive candidate like Sanders comes around only once every few decades. Sanders has the opportunity not just to make incremental changes like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, but fundamental improvements in American life as FDR and LBJ did. And to turn out the most dangerous president in American history as well.
The opportunity to both put someone so progressive as Bernie Sanders in the White House while saving the country is not to be missed.
Gazette Chicago endorses Bernie Sanders for president.
In its 37-year history, Gazette Chicago has never shied away from making an endorsement in any race that it has covered, and we have covered literally hundreds of races since 1983, all the way from president of the United States to Water Reclamation District seats.
We now live in unprecedented times and for the first time in its history, Gazette Chicago makes no endorsement in the Republican primary for U.S. president. Not because we cannot make a decision, but because we find the options appalling. There are several “non-candidates” who stand no chance of being elected and then there is the incumbent, Donald J. Trump.
British Lord John Edward Acton wrote in 1887:
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
If this doesn’t define the times we live in with Trump as president, then tell us, what does?
We have an impeached president who was acquitted by a Republican-led U.S. Senate that refused to call a single witness in what became a sham of an impeachment trial. Yes, we will acknowledge that the impeachment verdict came down from a Democratic-controlled House of Representatives; but the evidence that Trump abused the power of the presidency in pressuring the Ukraine government to assist him in the 2020 election was overwhelming.
What has he done since his acquittal? He has become even more emboldened and has abused his power absolutely, under the protection of disgraceful U.S. Attorney General William Barr and a complicit Senate led by its Machiavellian majority leader, Mitch McConnell and his trusty sidekick Lindsey Graham.
We could go on and on about what we find abhorrent about the Trump Presidency: his more than 16,000 lies since he placed his hand on the Bible and took the oath of office; his hateful and outright racist policies against immigrants that include the Muslim travel ban and separating more than 5,400 children from their parents at the U.S./Mexico border and the deplorable, inhumane living conditions they now suffer in; his pullback from the Paris Climate Accord and turning his back on climate change; his woeful foreign policy that has eroded our standing globally and has caused harm and endangered millions of people in the Middle East and other places around the world (i.e., see Syrian refugees as an example); his admiration for dictators such as Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un; his hateful rhetoric against people of color; his misogynistic treatment of women; his refusal to acknowledge that his intelligence agencies have evidence that Russia is once again interfering in our elections; and his overall arrogance as a man who thinks he knows everything, and yet proves time and time again, he knows very little.
Enough said. Gazette Chicago acknowledges that there are a significant number of Trump supporters in our coverage area. Many of you voted for him based on what he would do for the economy. You have the freedom to continue to support him—that is what defines our democracy. But, if there is no democracy left to defend your rights, what have you truly gained?
U.S. Senate (R)
Casey Chlebek is a businessperson and former president of the Polish American Congress, Illinois Division. Former Lake County Sheriff Mark C. Curran Jr. is anti-choice and feels the way to solve the opioid epidemic is increased border security. He is a Navy veteran, former law enforcement officer, and Internal Revenue Service analyst who opposed the impeachment of President Trump and favors his policies toward Iran. Radiologist and Vietnam War veteran Robert Marshall is anti-choice, pro National Rifle Association, against sanctuary cities, and in favor of the border wall. Tom Tarter, also a doctor, is a proponent of the 2017 tax cuts for the 1% and opposes single payer healthcare.
Chlebek would create industrial zones dedicated to new technological developments, expand vocational training, eliminate plastic packaging to help the environment, and is the unusual Republican who would reduce the size of the military and believes more immigrants would help the economy. Casey Chlebek earns our endorsement for senator on the GOP side, to run against incumbent Senator and Democrat Richard Durbin in November.
Illinois Supreme Court, District 1 (D)
There are seven good candidates in the race for Illinois Supreme Court justice. Six already are judges: Cynthia Y. Cobbs, Shelly Harris, Nathaniel Howse Jr., Margaret Stanton McBride, P. Scott Neville, and Jesse G. Reyes. The non-judge is Daniel Epstein, known for his pro-bono work.
Reyes is active in and has strong ties to this community, having been raised in Pilsen and Bridgeport and attending the University of Illinois at Chicago and UIC John Marshall Law School. He also has more than 20 years of experience as a judge. It is a rare opportunity to be able to vote for someone for a statewide post who is not only from this community but who has a stellar record in public service. Reyes is known for his commitment to diversity, for identifying problems in the justice system and finding solutions, and for teaching, lecturing, and presenting to law students, lawyers, and judges. Gazette Chicago strongly endorses Jesse G. Reyes for the Illinois Supreme Court.
Clerk of the Circuit Court (D)
This office has been scandal-ridden under incumbent Clerk Dorothy A. Brown and needs a cleanup. Hoping to do so are Jacob Meister, a civil rights attorney and progressive activist; Richard R. Boykin, a former Cook County Board commissioner; Iris Martinez, a State senator from the Northwest Side; and Michael Cabonargi, a commissioner of the Cook County Board of Review.
Cabonargi has been a Commissioner of the Cook County Board of Review since 2011 and led the effort to modernize and computerize its tax appeal review process. He also is a former Federal prosecutor who fought against corruption at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He has the credentials and experience to clean up the clerk’s office, as does Meister, but Michael Cabonargi earns Gazette Chicago’s endorsement.
State’s Attorney (D)
Four years ago, Gazette Chicago joined with a majority of Cook County voters who had lost confidence in State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez. She was embroiled in controversy over the Laquan McDonald shooting and the way investigators handled the charges against Richard Vanecko, the nephew of former Mayor Richard M. Daley. Vanecko was accused of causing the death of David Koschman, after a fight outside a Gold Coast bar.
We were disheartened to turn our support away from the first Latina woman to lead this office. We find ourselves in the same predicament now.
When we endorsed Kim Foxx, we liked her stances on torture reparations, firing prosecutors for perjury, and improved juvenile justice. She has made some achievements in her four years in office concerning righting the wrongs of the failed war on drugs by expunging records of low-level marijuana offenders, focusing on prosecuting violent crimes instead of low-level offenders just to pump up the office’s statistics, and beating the National Rifle Association in court.
Unfortunately, Foxx also has had her missteps in how she handled the Jussie Smollett investigation, dismissing all of the 16 charges against him for faking a hate crime to drum up publicity. Speculation is that a phone call from a former staffer of Michelle Obama swayed Foxx in her decision. Special investigator Dan Webb was brought in and now Smollett faces six new charges. Foxx has apologized for how she handled the case, but many in the Chicago Police Department and others have lost confidence in her.
Challenging Foxx in the Democratic Primary are Donna Moore, a former Federal and county prosecutor; former 2nd Ward Alderman Robert Fioretti, and Bill Conway, who has served as a Cook County prosecutor and Navy Reserve intelligence officer.
The race seems to be down to Foxx and Conway, as Moore and Fioretti have not been able to raise enough campaign dollars to make themselves visible. And, this leaves us in a quandary.
Conway’s record of accomplishment makes him a viable candidate for the office of state’s attorney. However, we are very concerned that Conway’s hefty campaign war chest is being bankrolled in large part by his wealthy father (his parents divorced when he was young and he was raised by his mother) and a number of other Republicans who supported Donald Trump in 2016. As of late February, Conway’s father gave $4.85 million to his campaign. Conway argues that how he runs the office of state’s attorney won’t be influenced by those contributing to his campaign.
This is a perfect example of why this country needs real campaign finance reform.
In a very difficult decision, Gazette Chicago endorses Bill Conway for state’s attorney with the caveat that we will watch very closely how he conducts himself if he wins the Democratic Primary.
State’s Attorney (R)
Candidates for Cook County state’s attorney on the Republican side are Patrick “Pat” O’Brien, who has served as a county prosecutor, assistant Illinois Attorney General, and judge, and Christpher Pfannkuche, a former assistant state’s attorney.
O’Brien not only has superior credentials but good stands on the issues, promising to bring cases to trial more quickly so defendants spend less time in Cook County Jail while they wait to go to court. Gazette Chicago endorses Pat O’Brien for Republican nominee for state’s attorney.
Congress 1st (D)
Three Democrats, Robert Emmons Jr., Sarah Gad, and Ameena Nuur Matthews, are challenging longtime incumbent Bobby Rush, who has held the position for more than 20 years.
Gad’s story is inspirational, having recovered from a near fatal automobile accident and a resulting addiction to opioids. She went on to earn her law degree and founded a grass roots movement to increase awareness for opioid addiction treatment. She favors a move to a single payer healthcare system and campaign finance reform.
Nuur Matthews is a community activist who has worked with Cure Violence. She is for a non-partisan commission on Congressional redistricting. She supports unions as a means to open the doors for more jobs for people of color.
Rush serves on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and serves on subcommittees on Health and Consumer Protection and Commerce and chairs the subcommittee on Energy. He is a strong advocate of protecting the Affordable Care Act and believes Education Secretary Betsy de Vos has been the most harmful person in that post the country has ever seen. He introduced the Green Collar Jobs Development Act to increase job opportunities for all Americans, especially under-represented groups. He supports the $15 minimum wage but would like to see it increased to $17 or $18 per hour.
Bobby Rush has been an effective leader in Congress for the 1st District and deserves another term.
Congress 3rd (D)
Two years ago, Gazette Chicago endorsed Marie Newman in the 3rd District Democratic primary, as we found her progressive platform and positions on behalf of women, the LGBTQ community, access to affordable healthcare, and middle class families a breath of fresh air against incumbent Dan Lipinski.
The only thing that has changed in the past two years is that the field is a bit more crowded. Lipinski continues to frustrate many of his constituents, who scratch their heads as to why Lipinski even bothers to carry the “D” behind his name.
In the race this cycle as challengers to Lipinski are Rush Darwish, Charles M. Hughes, and Newman.
Darwish favors moving to a Medicare-for-All system; will work for campaign finance reform; and wants to create an Economic Development Center to gather resources for small businesses, unions, and workers seeking a living wage. He does not favor a free, national college tuition program, but would seek a way to make higher education more affordable. He would support legislation to overturn the Trump Administration’s Muslim ban.
Hughes supports the ACA, but wants to see more affordable options and for Illinois to create a private-public partnership for healthcare insurance. He would stimulate job growth with more apprentice and vocational training. He supports a gradual increase in the minimum wage to $15 per hour to accommodate businesses. He would cut spending on wasteful items such as Trump’s border wall and detaining immigrants in order to increase public school funding.
Lipinski, who has served since 2005, after his father abruptly retired from the position, did not return repeated calls from Gazette Chicago for an interview, despite the fact that this newspaper has endorsed him in past election cycles and has always given him fair coverage. According to his website and election materials, Lipinski favors immigration policy reforms and co-sponsored the BRIDGE Act to protect immigrant children from deportation and those who have qualified for DACA status. According to women’s rights groups, he has voted seven times to defund Planned Parenthood, and although he was originally against the Affordable Care Act, he now believes the program needs to be strengthened and not repealed.
Newman supports the ACA and would move to a Medicare-for-All system. She believes a single payer system is the only way to reduce costs. She says it is critical to reform voter suppression tactics and overturn Citizens United, which allows corporations to pour unlimited money into political campaigns. Newman strongly disapproves of Education Secretary Betsy de Vos’s privatization of public education. She is in favor of legislation that will cancel student loan debt up to $50,000 for individuals with outstanding loans and incomes lower than $100,000. She supports the minimum wage, with increases linked to variations of the cost of living.
Last time around, Newman lost the election to Lipinski by only 2%. Gazette Chicago strongly endorses Marie Newman once again and asks that each voter in the 3rd District help bring real change to the community and Congress by electing someone who truly will advocate for middle- and working-class families. It is time for a change from the wishy-washy, taciturn leadership of Dan Lipinski.
Congress 3rd (R)
There are three candidates on the Republican ticket. Only one, Mike Fricilone, is a viable candidate in our view.
Arthur Jones is a self-identifying Nazi and a Holocaust denier. He is anti-Semitic and promulgates racist rhetoric. Yet, he is on the ballot once again. You will find more information on him in our election coverage in this issue. We will say nothing more about this incorrigible individual.
Catherine O’Shea is a real estate agent and served six years on the board of the Worth Township Schools Treasurer’s Office. We would have liked the opportunity to interview her to find out more about her candidacy, but she refused based on her claim that other newspapers “twisted” her words.
Although we do not agree with all of Mike Fricilone’s views, we find him to be a candidate with whom voters in our community could find some positions they could support. He has been on the Will County board since 2012. He would not support a single payer healthcare system but would seek to protect those with pre-existing conditions. He advocates tax relief for the middle class and those with lower income levels and supports an increase in the minimum wage but considers a push to $15 an hour “damaging.” He supported Trump’s tax cuts and supports voter ID laws. His stance on funding public education is puzzling.
We find Mike Fricilone as the best among the three Republican candidates in the 3rd Congressional District.
Congress 7th (D)
Longtime incumbent Danny K. Davis faces three challengers for the 7th Congressional seat.
Anthony Clark, a high school teacher and Air Force veteran, is back for a second try of unseating Davis. He supports a Medicare-for-All program and stands with presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on many of the same issues. He would advocate eliminating Citizens United and supports the Green New Deal, believing that moving away from fossil fuels will lead to economic investment and growth. Clark believes privately owned prison systems and Federal veteran assistance programs need major reforms.
Kina Collins has been a national organizer focusing on comprehensive universal healthcare. She would fight for a return of manufacturing jobs to the district, with a focus on green energy. She is in favor of a single payer healthcare program. She has worked on gun violence prevention and criminal justice reform.
Kristine Schanbacher works for a local law firm and serves on the Greater Chicago Food Depository board, among others. She believes the Federal government needs to increase funding of public education. Schanbacher believes the U.S. needs to take a more active leadership in climate change globally—an about face concerning the Trump Administration’s policies. She supports campaign financing reform and an immediate increase in the minimum wage.
Davis has served the 7th Congressional District since first being elected in 1996. He believes the ACA can be improved in the short term and has co-sponsored H.R. 1384, the Medicare-for-All Act. He supports small donor campaign financing and wants limitations on individual campaign donations as well as an end to treating corporations as persons. Davis supports the Green New Deal as a means both to combat climate change and address “the changing economic climate.” He supports a $15 minimum wage and wants to see a rise in overtime pay. He is in favor of taxes on the wealthy to eliminate undergraduate tuition and increased Federal grant support for low-income students.
It is difficult to argue against a progressive voice in Congress that has represented the district well for nearly 25 years. Gazette Chicago endorses Danny K. Davis for another term in the U.S. Congress.
State Senate 1st (D)
Froy Jimenez is a Chicago Public Schools history teacher and former chief of staff to now-Congressman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, when Garcia was a State Senator. Jimenez is a progressive candidate with several good positions such as implementing the Fair Tax to address the State’s growing pension crisis, protecting the benefits of current pensioners and those who have paid into the program, improving police training to address crime and build stronger relations with community residents, and creating a needs-based school funding structure and an elected school board.
Incumbent Antonio “Tony” Munoz has held the post since 1999 and has worked his way up to assistant majority leader in the Senate. He also chairs the executive appointments committee and serves on a number of other committees that affect our community as well as the State. Munoz is advocating for more black- and brown-owned businesses to be able to bid and win State contracts and wants to create incubator programs to encourage creating more small businesses across Illinois. A proponent of the $15 minimum wage, Munoz promised to continue to fight for a more fair, living wage. He wants to expand trade programs for high school students and see Illinois invest more in clean energy to bring good paying jobs to the State.
Munoz has been an effective State Senator and we would not want to see the 1st District lose the leadership positions he has secured during his tenure. In a close decision, Gazette Chicago endorses Antonio Munoz for another term.
State Senate 13th (D)
Ken Thomas, a practicing attorney, is challenging short-term incumbent Robert Peters for the State Senate seat in the 13th District.
Thomas has worked to protect tenant and immigrant rights and advocated for Illinois to enforce the automatic voter registration laws. He believes investment through jobs, training programs, and improved funding for schools will reduce crime in underinvested communities. He believes the State should cover more of the cost of K-12 public education to alleviate the burden on taxpayers. He wants to see equity in legalized cannabis dispensaries and wants their revenues invested in “over-policed” communities.
Peters has held the Senate seat since January 2019, when Kwame Raoul became State Attorney General. He believes one way to address the pension crisis is to eliminate corporate tax loopholes, and he advocates for the Fair Tax. Peters believes addressing the mental health crisis in the State will help reduce crime and increase public safety. He wants revenue streams from legal cannabis sales used to hire more social workers and other health care professionals, as well as attorneys, to help people struggling with mental health.
We like the passion Robert Peters has to address the issues of mental health and those in critical need of these services and endorse him for a full term in the Illinois Senate.
State Rep 2nd (D)
Incumbent State Rep. Theresa Mah became the first Asian American elected to the Illinois General Assembly in 2016. She faces two challengers this cycle in Kenneth M. Kozlar and Bobby Martinez Olson, both with ties to the 2nd District.
Kozlar spent a 40-year career at the Institute of Gas Technology. He would protect pensions for current beneficiaries but did not offer a funding pathway to alleviate the growing pension deficit. He would look at expunging the records of the majority of marijuana offenses but calls for those committing crimes “to do the time.” He advocates for increasing the minimum wage to $18 and raise it 10% annually. He favors term limits for elected officials.
Martinez Olson earned his law degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and joined the Illinois Bar Association in 2017. He currently works in the non-profit sector. He favors protecting the benefits of current pensioners and would examine adjustments for misdemeanor crimes but feels there must be repercussions to deter people from becoming repeat offenders. He advocates for more technical training as early as high school, especially in renewable energy. Martinez Olson favors the Fair Tax to avoid property tax increases as well as allocations from lottery and cannabis sales. He is not in favor of term limits.
Mah was a college professor before entering the General Assembly and supports the rights of immigrants, seniors, and working families. She is a proponent of continuing to pay down pension debt and maintaining current pensioner benefits. She favors reducing arrests for non-violent misdemeanors and expunging records where appropriate. She takes a strong stand on taking back the tax subsidies given to companies if they leave the State.
Theresa Mah has been an effective State representative since being elected four years ago, and we believe she deserves another term representing the constituents of the 2nd District.
State Rep 9th (D)
Talk about a wide-open race. There are seven candidates vying for the support of voters in the 9th State District. The seat was made available when Arthur Turner decided to step down after ten years at the helm. He succeeded his father, Arthur Turner Sr. who served from 1981 to 2010.
It is not often you could say that everyone “brings something to the table” in a field this large, but that seems to be the case in the 9th District this cycle. For a detailed, closer look at the candidates in this race, see Gazette Chicago’s news coverage beginning on page 1.
In summary, Lakesia Collins is a nursing home worker, organizer, and someone who could speak from the heart about the struggles of a working mom earning a wage that puts one at peril for eviction. TyJuan “Ty” Cratic would bring a common sense business approach to the seat. Maurice Edwards wants to see a new juvenile facility where rehabilitation is the focus and kids there are taught vocational and “spiritual” education. Nicole “Nikki” Harvey works for Congressman Danny K. Davis and has his endorsement. She is for restoring behavioral and mental health services and bringing green jobs to the district. Trina Mangrum also works in the area as chief of staff for 24th Ward Alderman Jason Ervin. She has earned his endorsement and that of his wife, City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin. Mangrum believes the graduated income tax would benefit funding not only for pensions but for schools. Sandra “Sandi” Schneller works in healthcare and would advocate for a zero tolerance policy on gun violence and bringing new jobs to the district. Aaron Turner, brother of the current State rep and son of Arthur Turner Sr., believes he knows what it takes to serve in a position of leadership for the district. He wants to see job training tied to emerging technologies.
We winnow this field down to a choice among Collins, Harvey, Mangrum, and Turner. In a close decision, Gazette Chicago endorses Trina Mangrum for 9th District State rep. We like her positions on the issues, and in dealing with Mangrum in Ervin’s office over the years, we have found her to be efficient and effective.
State Rep 10th (D)
The two primary candidates for the 10th District State representative seat, Gerard Moorer and Jawaharial “Omar” Williams, have ties to West Side political stalwarts, while the third, Gina Zuccaro, has been difficult to reach.
Moorer is deputy district director for longtime 7th District Congressman Danny K. Davis. He advocates protecting current State pensioners but feels resources need to be set aside for future beneficiaries. He believes the cycle of jail time normalizes incarceration and that probation and community service could be better options. He believes education and training will attract more businesses to Illinois. Moorer believes the $15 minimum wage doesn’t go far enough to sustain working class families.
Williams is the son of longtime 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett and was appointed to the post in May 2019 by the ward’s Democratic committeepersons. He was a former laborer in the City Department of Water Management. Williams endorses a fairer tax system for middle- and working-class families, where higher wage earners pay a fairer share of the taxes. He voted in favor of the $350 million increase in new State funding for schools. He wants an end to the “school to prison pipeline” that has plagued communities of color. He wants to keep a close check on cannabis access and to see more dispensary licenses given to people of color.
Gazette Chicago endorses Jawaharial “Omar” Williams for a full term in the 10th District.
State Rep 26th (D)
The 26th District is yet another race within our coverage area that positions a short-term incumbent, Kambium “Kam” Buckner, versus a challenger, Marc Loveless.
Loveless helped found the Coalition for Justice and Respect and has either founded or served on numerous organizations that focus on HIV/AIDS prevention and care; black, lesbian, and gay social justice issues; and expansion of education and businesses. He would reform the current State pension plan to reduce costs but not reduce benefits. He would look at assuring job protection and the minimum wage and would advocate increasing the scale from $15 to $17 in two years. Loveless wants to see the wealthy and corporations pay a fairer share of taxes and believes the State needs to invest more in education.
Buckner was appointed to the seat in 2019 when Christian Mitchell resigned to become deputy governor of Illinois. He did stints in political offices for U.S. Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. To address the pension crisis, Buckner favors a constitutional amendment to alter benefits—but finding a way to protect current pensioner benefits. He would lower the number of arrests for misdemeanors and establish a diversion programs that focuses on training and jobs. He supports the $15 minimum wage but would like the State to introduce a living wage. He believes the State should look at tax cuts for corporations and feels the current tax model has created inequities that hamper commerce across the region. He is against term limits because he fears lobbyists would then be the “folks with institutional knowledge,” rather than elected officials.
Buckner has been an accessible member of the General Assembly since taking office, but we are concerned with his stances on a constitutional amendment to address the pension crisis as something that could open up a Pandora’s box for current and future pensioners, and we do not agree with his position on corporate taxes. In a close call, Gazette Chicago endorses Marc Loveless in the 26th District.
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioners (D)
Eleven candidates are running for three spots on the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago Board of Commissioners in the Democratic primary. The MWRD assures water quality in Lake Michigan and local rivers, protects businesses and homes from flooding, and oversees water distribution in Chicago and its suburbs.
Gazette Chicago endorses Frank Avila, Mike Cashman, and Kimberly Du Buclet.
Avila first was elected a commissioner in 2002 and is the board’s finance chair. An engineer, he worked on MWRD civil engineering projects before becoming a commissioner.
Mike Cashman would be a newcomer to the board. He has strong connections to this community, as he is a Saint Ignatius College Prep alum and worked with Mercy Home for Boys and Girls. A high school educator and coach, he would initiate a large public education campaign about storm safety and green technologies. He also promises to initiate policies to help the MWRD deal with climate change.
DuBuclet was first elected a commissioner two years ago and has done well handling some big responsibilities as chair of the MWRD’s Federal legislation and stormwater committees and as a trustee for the MWRD’s pension fund.