Rev. Ira Acree of Greater St. Bible Church is supporting Republican Jim Oberweis over incumbent Democrat Dick Durbin for U.S. Senate.

I‘m urging all African Americans to join me in supporting Jim Oberweis in his bid to become the next U.S. senator from Illinois. For decades, African Americans have religiously elected Democrats to office that are not serving our best interests or improving our quality of life. To keep doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

Like any other healthy community, we want jobs. We want a thriving economy, great schools, and safe neighborhoods, but we clearly have none of the above and the outlook has gotten worse over the last six years.

Now is the time to make a statement. 

Some Democrats have used the African American vote as their tool for far too long. They have successfully tricked us into thinking that every Republican is racist and wants to turn back the hands of time. They have also persuading us that all white Democrats are just madly in love with black people, and that they are our best allies in our pursuit of a leveled playing field, economically and educationally.

Until we give some indication that our vote is up for grabs, we will continue to get ignored and played in a two-party system.

The game-playing of some key power brokers in the Democratic Party has been beyond frustrating. Here in Illinois, they run every branch of government and can’t pass legislation to increase the minimum wage, which is something that they claim they are passionate about. With a Democratic governor, Pat Quinn; a Democratic Speaker of the House, Mike Madigan; a Democratic President of the Senate, Tom Cullerton; a Democratic Senate and House of Representatives — what’s stopping them? 

Give me a break. 

I expect when Jim Oberweis is elected U.S. Senator he will use some of his entrepreneurial skills and experience to help mentor a new generation of businessmen and women, especially in the African American community. 

It’s time to rethink the whole notion of “Voting Democrat” across the board, because they have truly failed miserably in being the party that “helps black people.”

I’m not saying by any means that the Republican Party will solve all of our issues, but I am saying my Democratic leader in the U.S. Senate has failed to deal with those issues in a meaningful way. After blind loyalty and monolithic support to Mr. Durbin, maybe this one time it’s worth giving the Republican a crack at our vote. That’s why this year I’m supporting Jim Oberweis as the next United States senator for the state of Illinois. 

Ending the epidemic of violence in Chicago is an issue that’s dear to my heart. 

Much of the violence can only be addressed with an economic resolution. We need to start electing people based on their skill-set and policy positions rather than party identification.

In Illinois, our economy is in the toilet, and it’s time to flush out the waste that’s impeding our progress.

We need a person in the United States Senate with an economic vision for our state. Enough with continuing the foolish practice of re-electing unproductive party hacks. Our lives and the prosperity of future generations are at stake.

State Sen. Jim Oberweis has a stellar track record of creating jobs. Sen. Dick Durbin, from a distance, seems to be a nice guy but has an atrocious record of killing jobs over the last six years. He’s also not visible in addressing the critical issues in our community.

Every other ethnic group in America has both parties competing for their vote. Why have African Americans been duped into believing that we have to vote as Democrats 100 percent of the time — we are clearly an afterthought to the Democratic Party.

Socially, many African Americans have more in common with Oberweis than they do with Durbin — I know I do. I too support traditional marriage. I believe civil unions allow every adult the necessary freedom needed, and legal support and protection, in choosing the life partner of their choice.

 Although I don’t advocate anyone forcing their religion down someone’s throat, I, like many Republicans, am unashamedly Christian. Just like Jim Oberweis, I believe in choice and quality schools, and the support for entrepreneurs.

Mr. Oberweis is here, ready to serve. It is time we give him a chance to produce the results that Durbin over and over again has failed to deliver.

The choice on this day is simple — Jim Oberweis.

Rev. Acree is pastor of Greater St. John Bible Church in Austin

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