Get to know candidates beyond negativity

September 18, 2018

If you were to pay attention to the brutal, negative advertising in the 79th Illinois House District, you would think that two friends of child molestation are squaring off.

Actually, both incumbent Lindsay Parkhurst and challenger Lisa Dugan have positive records in the community. Parkhurst, the incumbent Republican and an attorney, has won awards for donating legal service to the poor. Dugan, who formerly held the job, was a pioneering electrician with a record of supporting local charity — including a toy drive for children at Christmas.

The charges against both are a stretch. Defending someone in court (the job of an attorney) does not make you an accessory to the crime. Accepting a donation from someone who donated to someone else does not mean you agree with everything that someone else does.

Why do candidates engage in such negativity? This is a race with real issues — namely, the future of Illinois. The state still is heavily in debt for a pension system with no real way to pay over the long term. That’s not popular to discuss because the answer will not be fun: more taxes, fewer benefits or both.

Instead, we get these mailings. They usually are a combination of unflattering photos, garish headlines and tiny, tiny print citing sources and votes.

What can you, as a voter, do?

Go out and meet the candidates. When there are forums, attend them. Show up at headquarters and ask questions. Read the stories. Form your own opinion.

It appears that limits on campaigns will always face constitutional challenges, but here is one change we would like to see — funds spent in a district must be raised within that district. Let us make up our own minds, without help from Chicago or Springfield.

Update hourly