WE ARE ILLINOIS
Kirk the easy choice in 10th District
October 13, 2008
Come Election Day, it will be hard for voters in the North Shore's 10th Congressional District to go wrong, given a choice of two strong candidates.
Democrat Dan Seals of Wilmette is a bright, thoughtful newcomer with a strong business and policy background. He is trying for the second time to unseat incumbent Mark Kirk of Highland Park, a seasoned and effective legislator with a wealth of experience in the military and foreign affairs.
All the same, this was an easy call for us. Our endorsement goes to Kirk, a moderate Republican with a strong independent streak who has delivered for his constituents and brought good sense to Congress. He has leaned left on social issues, leaned right on fiscal policy, and often sought a creative third path -- neither conventionally liberal or conservative -- on foreign affairs.
Locally, Kirk fought for the opening of a unique Veterans Administration-Navy hospital, has been a passionate protector of Lake Michigan -- he fought hard to stop BP from dumping more waste into the lake -- has been working to clean up toxic Waukegan harbor, and has battled to reduce gang violence in Waukegan.
On national issues, he broke with his party to support a new, more generous GI bill, has sworn off earmark projects, and has contributed his considerable expertise to the foreign operations subcommittee of the powerful appropriations committee. Kirk is a Naval Reserve intelligence officer and has worked for the State Department and the World Bank.
In his eight years in Congress, Kirk has made bipartisanship a priority, bringing a spirit of cooperation to a Congress in sore need of it. And despite what his opponent would have you believe, he is anything but a clone of President Bush.
Last year, Rep. Kirk voted in opposition to President Bush 59 percent of the time -- the highest percentage among all Illinois Republicans, according to Congressional Quarterly. He is pro-choice and supports stem cell research.
We like the innovative solutions Kirk brings to tough problems, such as his novel plan to gain real leverage over Iran by suspending insurance coverage on the tankers that bring desperately needed gas into the country. His instinct on Capitol Hill has been to seek hard-headed, pragmatic solutions that -- perhaps because he has worked for the State Department -- avoid easy saber rattling.
Kirk is not afraid to speak his mind. In a meeting with the Sun-Times editorial board, he deplored the corruption in Cook County government and the gridlock in Springfield. And he told us bluntly that Sarah Palin would not have been his choice.
The 49-year-old congressman is gaining seniority in Congress and has much left to do. We urge him to keep pushing feuding Illinois legislators to pass a statewide construction bill so that $8 billion in federal matching funds don't slip away. We urge him to keep fighting for his "Apollo Energy Independence Act," modeled on NASA's $20 billion technological investment in the Apollo moon missions, aimed at ending our nation's dependence on foreign oil.
Mark Kirk is exactly what the 10th Congressional District, the State of Illinois, and our country needs in Congress: a congressman who is hard working, very knowledgeable, fiercely independent, dedicated to bipartisan action, and an effective contributor to resolving the nation's and his district's problems.
Dan Seals is a fine candidate who has much to contribute. We hope he finds another way to use his considerable talents for the public good.
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