En­dorse­ments for the US House: Lip­in­ski, Fri­cilone, Em­mons Jr., Kelly

The Tri­bune be­gins en­dorse­ments for con­tested races in the March 17 Illi­nois pri­mary with these U.S. House rec­om­men­da­tions.

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - EDITORIALS -

3rd District Democrats

In this year’s pres­i­den­tial pri­maries, Democrats are en­gaged in an in­tense con­test of ideas be­tween cen­trist and pro­gres­sive can­di­dates. In the Chicago area, one U.S. House race has the same epic feel: Rep. Dan Lip­in­ski’s bat­tle to re­tain his 3rd Con­gres­sional District seat.

Strictly speak­ing, Lip­in­ski is nei­ther cen­trist nor pro­gres­sive. His pro-life views iden­tify him as one of the few con­ser­va­tive Democrats in the cham­ber. But Lip­in­ski plays up his bi­par­ti­san bona fides as he faces a na­tion­ally prom­i­nent pro­gres­sive chal­lenger, Marie Newman, in a district that’s shifted left. That’s why this is a hot race.

Lip­in­ski vs. Newman is a re­match of the 2018 pri­mary. Lip­in­ski squeaked to vic­tory in that one. This time there are two more Democrats on the bal­lot, Rush Dar­wish and Charles M. Hughes.

Lip­in­ski, of West­ern Springs, sells him­self as a work­horse who pays at­ten­tion to lo­cal is­sues such as fund­ing for trans­porta­tion. He says he re­cently helped de­liver $150 mil­lion for a rail un­der­pass in Chicago and $6 mil­lion for an air traf­fic con­trol tower in Romeoville.

Seek­ing his ninth term, Lip­in­ski has been in sync with the district for a long time. But Lip­in­ski warns that Democrats risk a wrench­ing schism if they swal­low the pro­gres­sive agenda Newman es­pouses. “We now have a tea party of the left form­ing, which would be dis­as­ter for the party and for our coun­try,” Lip­in­ski said at a Tri­bune Ed­i­to­rial Board fo­rum. A “big tent” is vi­tal for Democrats, he said.

Newman, of La Grange, who is pro­choice, re­torts, “There’s room for ev­ery­body as long as your main goal is to cre­ate an econ­omy that works for ev­ery­body.” That’s a clue to her more left­ward lean: She sup­ports two of the high­est-pro­file, bigscale pro­gres­sive causes — a switch to gov­ern­ment-run health in­sur­ance and the so-called Green New Deal en­vi­ron­men­tal agenda.

She sup­ports the Af­ford­able Care Act, aka Oba­macare, but ul­ti­mately sees Medi­care for All as the best op­tion for Amer­i­cans. It would be paid for, she told us in her Tri­bune Ed­i­to­rial Board can­di­date ques­tion­naire, “by rais­ing taxes on ul­tra-bil­lion­aires and ap­pro­pri­at­ing fed­eral funds to en­sure the process is ad­min­is­tered smoothly.” The Green New Deal, Newman said, is “a means to mod­ern­ize our econ­omy.”

We’re con­cerned that such mas­sive gov­ern­ment spend­ing pro­grams are un­work­able and un­af­ford­able. Lip­in­ski’s out­look, which in­cludes par­tic­i­pa­tion in the House bi­par­ti­san Prob­lem Solvers Cau­cus, is both more mod­er­ate and re­al­is­tic. Lip­in­ski is en­dorsed.

3rd District Re­pub­li­cans

In the Repub­li­can pri­mary for the 3rd Con­gres­sional District, our full-throated en­dorse­ment goes to Mike Fri­cilone ,a mem­ber of the Will County Board. It’s vi­tal Fri­cilone wins be­cause one of his op­po­nents, Arthur J. Jones, is an odi­ous crack­pot.

“We have a white su­prem­a­cist, a racist, run­ning on the ticket for our party,” Fri­cilone tells us, ac­cu­rately de­scrib­ing Jones, a Holo­caust de­nier and Nazi sym­pa­thizer. “It doesn’t do any­body any good for any party to have some­body like that run­ning.”

Jones’ par­tic­i­pa­tion in the race is an abom­i­na­tion and re­cur­ring em­bar­rass­ment to the Illi­nois Repub­li­can Party. In 2018, Jones ran un­op­posed in the pri­mary, ef­fec­tively sneak­ing past sleep­ing party of­fi­cials who were so dis­in­ter­ested in com­pet­ing in this Demo­cratic strong­hold that they didn’t make the ef­fort to re­cruit a cred­i­ble can­di­date. Nor did they no­tice that Jones in­tended to be the GOP can­di­date. By the time Re­pub­li­cans snapped to at­ten­tion, it was too late: Jones wound up on the gen­eral elec­tion bal­lot.

We imag­ine Jones likes the no­to­ri­ety, which we are loathe to ad­vance, be­cause here he is, back on the bal­lot. The An­tiDefama­tion League calls Jones a long­time neo-Nazi. “If I re­ally be­lieved the Holo­caust had taken place, I wouldn’t have joined the Nazi Party,” he once said of his past af­fil­i­a­tion. On his web­site, Jones en­dorses the idea of fed­er­ally sanc­tioned, Chris­tian white-only neigh­bor­hoods. Enough of him.

We’re re­lieved Jones has cred­i­ble chal­lengers this time around, in­clud­ing Cather­ine A. O’Shea, of Oak Lawn. Fri­cilone, a sales ex­ec­u­tive from Homer Glen, is most qual­i­fied. His orig­i­nal motivation for en­ter­ing the race was to op­pose Jones.

Fri­cilone is a fis­cal con­ser­va­tive who has served on the Will County Board for seven years. “We have way too much gov­ern­ment, too much waste,” he says. “If we can make ser­vices bet­ter while not con­tin­u­ally in­creas­ing taxes, that’s the path I want to go down.”

Fri­cilone is en­dorsed. Please sup­port him and send a mes­sage to Jones.

1st District Democrats

Rep. Bobby Rush has served the solid­blue 1st Con­gres­sional District since 1993, but frankly, it’s been a long time since he’s pro­vided con­stituents with dis­tin­guished rep­re­sen­ta­tion. This South Side/south sub­ur­ban district, be­set by gun vi­o­lence and eco­nomic hard­ship, needs some­one with en­thu­si­asm and en­ergy in Wash­ing­ton. We see strong lead­er­ship po­ten­tial in Robert Em­mons Jr.

Em­mons, a 27-year-old non­profit ex­ec­u­tive from Auburn Gre­sham, has the right motivation. He says his cam­paign is about end­ing gun vi­o­lence. “We need to call out gun vi­o­lence for what it is: a pub­lic health epi­demic caused by so­cial and eco­nomic in­sta­bil­ity,” he told us in his can­di­date ques­tion­naire. Em­mons says there are vi­o­lence preven­tion groups in Chicago neigh­bor­hoods that are mod­els for com­mu­nity ac­tivism and that de­serve more fed­eral sup­port. He’s com­mit­ted to be­ing more ac­ces­si­ble to con­stituents than Rush, whose low vis­i­bil­ity in Chicago com­mu­ni­ties has long con­cerned us. “I want them to feel that they can touch what we’re fight­ing for and who I am,” Em­mons says.

Also run­ning are Sarah Gad, a Uni­ver­sity of Chicago law stu­dent, and Ameena Nuur Matthews, an anti-vi­o­lence ac­tivist who was fea­tured in the doc­u­men­tary “The In­ter­rupters.”

We fa­vor Em­mons, who’s re­spect­ful of Rush’s ser­vice but ea­ger to give con­stituents more en­er­getic ser­vice. As Em­mons says: “Part of liv­ing in my com­mu­nity and re­spect­ing my elders is chal­leng­ing them.” Em­mons is en­dorsed. Phi­lanise White is run­ning un­op­posed in the Repub­li­can pri­mary.

2nd District Democrats

Rep. Robin Kelly, of Mat­te­son, whose 2nd Con­gres­sional District in­cludes south­ern Cook County, is pas­sion­ate and prag­matic. It’s an ap­proach we ap­pre­ci­ate. She has a sig­na­ture is­sue — gun vi­o­lence preven­tion — but a broad port­fo­lio of in­ter­ests, rang­ing from women’s health is­sues and pre­scrip­tion drug pric­ing to job cre­ation.

We’d rather Kelly not spend time pro­mot­ing a Peotone air­port that no longer seems nec­es­sary, but even there she’s think­ing about her district the right way: as a po­ten­tial en­gine of Illi­nois eco­nomic growth. Run­ning against Kelly in the pri­mary is Mar­cus Lewis, of Mat­te­son. Theresa J. Raborn is un­op­posed on the Repub­li­can side. Kelly is en­dorsed.


Mike Fri­cilone


Rep. Dan Lip­in­ski


Robert Em­mons Jr.


Rep. Robin Kelly

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