Return Davis to Washington, D.C.
U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis (7th) has been in Congress for 10 years. He hasn’t lost the fire in his belly, he hasn’t lost the righteous indignation, he hasn’t lost the low boom in his voice that he uses so effectively in making his points clear.

And that for us is plenty of reason to endorse him for reelection in the Democratic primary. Danny Davis is an advocate for people who need advocates. His Arkansas roots, his West Side roots, his independent political roots have not been co-opted by the high praise and endless perks of a Congressman’s life in D.C.

That said, we are disappointed by Davis’ recent endorsement, along with a bevy of black politicians, of John Stroger’s re-election as county board president. That was a political act we would have expected Davis to rise above.

Despite spending all of his 10 years in the House of Representatives in the minority, he has successfully worked with the Republican majority to get significant legislation passed.

Davis has worked to pass legislation to fund health services to eradicate Sickle Cell Disease. He also helped pass legislation to create partnerships between large corporations and small businesses. His admitted crown jewel would be the Second Chances Ex-Offenders Act, which was recently passed out of committee and is awaiting introduction to the floor of the House.

Davis’ ‘down home, good-ole-boy’ approach, which is often criticized, has served him well to build relationships.

Davis has reached a level of respectability”both locally and nationally”rivaled by only a few in his position. Could he have accomplished more? Perhaps. But he has been a voice worth having in Washington and in our community.

His Democratic opponents have called for change. But there must be good reason to remove someone from the level of seniority that Davis has attained. At this time, there is none.

Unlike previous Davis rivals, Jim Ascott has something to offer voters. This may not be his election, but we’d like to see Democrats find a race for him in the future.


A Ford in our future
State Rep. Calvin Giles’ time is up. Or so we hope. In 12 years, his greatest accomplishment as a state legislator has been to confuse constituents in wondering if he’s actually a state legislator at all. He is invisible and voiceless.

Giles’ Democratic primary opponent LaShawn K. Ford, on the other hand, is a former teacher who has built a successful realty business in the Austin community. He is as active and visible as Giles is not. Ford would be a markedly improved choice over the incumbent.

Ford has proven to be thoughtful and responsive to constituents’ concerns. Giles touts his seniority and understanding of the legislative process as major strengths. But his failure to comply with state campaign disclosure laws to the tune $144,000 in assessed fines by the Illinois State Board of Elections shows he has no respect for the government processes designed to make our elections honest. He eventually settled the matter with the state for pennies on the dollar. Unacceptable.

But Ford, even by his own admission, has more work to do in broadening his depth of knowledge on the issues. If elected, he’ll come in with many ideas, but must still learn the process, which will not take any 12 years to achieve.

And Ford must understand that he represents the entire district and not just his familiar Austin haunt that surely does require his attention given the change occurring in that part of the district. There’s Oak Park, Riverside, Forest Park and portions of the Proviso and Berwyn Townships requiring full representation.

Ford has run twice before. He promises to be present in the district and appears sincere.

Ford has an opportunity to produce results rather than just build a political resume. We believe he has chance to do just that.

Harmon for 39th district Senate
Don Harmon has made this decision easy.

In his freshman term, Harmon introduced and passed more bills than some senators do in their entire careers. He brought the Oak Park model for early childhood agencies working together to Springfield to base a state-wide agency on. He went to bat for Oak Park schools looking to get out of an archaic financial arrangement with the Cicero Township Trustees of Schools.

Much of Harmon’s success he attributes to reaching out: across the aisle and across the state.

Harmon says he’ll get behind an effort to change the rate schools are able to adjust budget increases by that more accurately reflects their operating expenses. At the same time, he’s the lead sponsor in an effort to reduce the number of years a district can phase-in its referendum, which will protect taxpayers.

And he said he would get behind a broad re-thinking of Illinois’ sunshine laws, considered some of the least sunniest in the country.

We are frequently impressed with Harmon’s candor and forthrightness. He strikes us as being a straight-shooter who feels only enough comfort in the unctuousness of politics to get the job done.

So far he’s done that, and we look forward to another term.