Chicago Sun-Times - - OPINION -

Democrats in the 3rd Con­gres­sional Dis­trict, how you vote in this pri­mary elec­tion will say a lot about what it means to be a Demo­crat in these ide­o­log­i­cally po­lar­ized times.

Our endorsement goes to in­cum­bent Rep. Dan Lip­in­ski, who has a strong record of go­ing to bat for work­ing peo­ple, which is what Democrats are sup­posed to do. We urge a vote for Lip­in­ski though we know he may be in­creas­ingly out of step with his party — or at least with his party’s lead­er­ship — on core so­cial is­sues such as abor­tion and gay rights.

Democrats once took pride in be­ing a big- tent party, tol­er­ant of a di­ver­sity of views if only to win elec­tions. We’ll have to see how well that big tent holds up to­day. Lip­in­ski’s op­po­nent, La Grange busi­ness­woman Marie New­man, stands well to his left and be­lieves the 3rd Dis­trict does, too.

Lip­in­ski, who took his fa­ther’s seat in Congress 14 years ago, is best known for work­ing to bring fed­eral fund­ing to Illi­nois for in­fra­struc­ture projects, such as new roads and bridges. This has earned him the strong sup­port of or­ga­nized la­bor groups, which covet the union jobs those pro­ject cre­ate. Lip­in­ski also has been a cham­pion of “buy Amer­i­can” rules when spend­ing fed­eral money, for beef­ing up work­place safety in­spec­tions, and for the rights of work­ers to or­ga­nize.

Lip­in­ski fa­vors a higher hourly min­i­mum wage, but not one as high as the “at least $ 15” called for by New­man, and he co- spon­sored the Pay­check Fair­ness Act, which would en­sure that em­ploy­ers who pay a man more than a woman for the same job must show the dis­par­ity is not gen­der- based, but job- re­lated.

Lip­in­ski is old- school in his view of what Illi­nois’ econ­omy should look like, con­tin­u­ing to see a big role for tra­di­tional man­u­fac­tur­ing. For that rea­son, he has op­posed the Trans- Pa­cific Part­ner­ship agree­ment, con­vinced it would lead to an ex­port of Amer­i­can jobs. And he wrote the Amer­i­can Man­u­fac­tur­ing Com­pet­i­tive Act — an excellent idea — which re­quires the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to pro­duce a na­tional strate­gic plan, up­dated ev­ery four years, to boost Amer­i­can man­u­fac­tur­ing. The first plan is due this spring.

New­man is sup­ported by prom­i­nent lib­eral Democrats, most no­tably Rep. Jan Schakowsky and Rep. Luis Gu­tier­rez, who say Lip­in­ski is just a closet Repub­li­can. New­man points out that Lip­in­ski, an abor­tion rights foe, has voted sev­eral times to de­fund Planned Par­ent­hood, and he was one of just three Democrats to vote against Oba­macare in 2010.

New­man ad­vo­cates “Medi­care for all,” the uni­ver­sal health care plan pro­moted by Sen. Bernie San­ders, D- Vt., and she wants to in­crease the avail­abil­ity of af­ford­able child care.

On all these so­cial is­sues, this ed­i­to­rial board stands on New­man’s side of the fence, but we re­spect Lip­in­ski’s com­mit­ment to the con­cerns of or­di­nary work­ing Amer­i­cans at a time when unions and work­ers’ rights are un­der at­tack. That’s enough for us, for now.


U. S. Rep. Dan Lip­in­ski and his Demo­cratic pri­mary chal­lenger Marie New­man.

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