Beginning today and continuing each weekday through Election Day on Feb. 2, I'll be posting my endorsements for races important to Fulton County and State of Illinois voters. While they will likely have little impact, I still enjoy rationalizing and defending my votes, and I sincerely hope you'll consider and enjoy them.
FOR 17TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT: PHIL HARE
When Phil Hare won election and took over Lane Evans’ 17th district Congressional seat in early 2007, it’s safe to say the bar had been set pretty high. And while no one can truly fill the shoes of Lane Evans, Congressman Hare has come pretty close.
Congressman Hare is to the point, genuine, and down-to-earth and cares about people. Perhaps, though, the greatest compliment I can give him is that he is legitimately (and sometimes unpopularly so) honest. It’s often said by Hare’s staff that he would rather vote his conscience and lose an election than win an election by voting for something he didn’t believe in.
Hare supports health care reform in Congress and believes that all Americans have a fundamental right to health care, but not for the same reasons that most do. When justifying his vote (although in our eyes, he needs not justify), he tells the story of his father being so ill, many years ago, that his health insurance premiums were putting the family in a dire financial situation. Hare returned home from his sister’s wedding to find the sheriff at the door with a foreclosure notice. The health insurance companies led to the Hare family losing its home. In his final days, Hare’s father pleaded with Phil to “make sure that this doesn’t happen to any other families.”
Phil agreed, and he has done everything in his power to do so during his time in Washington.
Hare’s presumptive Republican opponent in the fall, Rock Island native and East Moline pizzeria owner Bobby Schilling, opposes many of the key issues that push me to believe in Hare. Schilling opposes the proposed federal correctional facility at Thomson, wishing to deny over 3000 jobs to a state in desperate need. And although Thomson lies within the 16th district, its proximity to the Quad Cities mean that potentially hundreds of jobs could fall to open arms within the district Schilling hopes to represent. Schilling also opposes lowering the corporate tax rate, further hoping to strengthen corporate ties over the country. This is especially concerning after today’s Supreme Court decision. Schilling opposes a woman’s right to choose, opposes federal government involvement in education issues, and perhaps most egregiously, considers himself a “9/12 candidate,” or one who supports the nine principles and 12 values of the founding fathers as laid out by Fox News’ Glenn Beck.
Hare, on the other hand, is a champion of agriculture and veterans’ affairs – he worked tirelessly for the passing of the 2008 Farm Bill and served on the V.A. Committee in the House of Representatives during the last Congress. “Congressman Phil Hare” is also synonymous with labor and union rights. A member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, Congressman Hare is a staunch supporter of the Employee Free Choice Act, a piece of legislation requiring employers to recognize a union formed by majority sign-up. He also is a member of the House Trade Working Group, fighting for fair trade policies that preserve American jobs, fight poverty, and protect our natural resources. These practices are built upon Hare’s 13 years cutting lining for men’s suits at Seaford Clothing Factory in Rock Island and his time as union leader and President of UNITE HERE local 617.
Congressman Phil Hare, although unopposed in the Democratic primary, faces re-election this fall. I sincerely hope you will join us in supporting this friend of the 17th district, of Fulton County, and of so many of us.