Democratic mailers misleading

August 22, 2018

The latest Democratic mailers are accusing state Rep. Lindsay Parkhurst of voting against programs for veterans and the elderly.

That’s misleading. The Democrats have provided no proof she targeted those programs in particular.

One flyer states Parkhurst, R-Kankakee, “voted to slash funding for Meals on Wheels and lifesaving medical care for frail, elderly residents.”

Another says she “opposed lifesaving medical care that would save veterans’ lives, voting to slash funding needed to protect the well-being of our heroes.”

This makes it sound as if Parkhurst, who represents the 79th District, voted against these programs in particular. She did not.

In its mailers, the state Democratic Party, chaired by House Speaker Michael Madigan, cited as evidence the state budget that the Democrat-controlled Legislature passed and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner signed earlier this year.

Parkhurst was part of a small minority opposing the budget.

Her spokesman, Timmy Pawula, said Parkhurst voted against the budget because there were “overgenerous revenue estimates coupled with a lack of long-term reforms that Lindsay vowed to fight for in 2016.”

Christian Mitchell, executive director of the state Democratic Party, said Parkhurst opposed a bipartisan budget that included money for the state’s sick veterans, Meals on Wheels and money for schools and police officers.

But he offered no evidence that Parkhurst rejected these programs specifically. Legislators typically vote on budgets up or down at the last minute in legislative sessions. They don’t vote on funding on a program-by-program basis.

It’s not unusual for Democrats to make it appear as if Republicans rejected money for specific, popular programs when, in fact, they voted against a budget that funds all of state government.

The Democrats are using a similar tactic against Rep. Jerry Long, R-Streator, in La Salle County. A recent flyer accuses Long of opposing money for programs that track sex offenders, citing the same budget bill that he joined Parkhurst in voting against. The programs tracking sex offenders consume only a tiny fraction of the budget, which is tens of billions of dollars.

In the 79th District, Parkhurst faces Lisa Dugan, D-Bradley, who served the district from 2003 to 2013. The election is Nov. 6.

No power whatsoever

Another common charge in Democratic mailers is that Parkhurst’s “special-interest allies are backing extreme politicians who want to cut Social Security and Medicare, slashing the guaranteed medical coverage that seniors have worked a lifetime to earn.”

It may be true that some of her donors back other politicians who want to cut the entitlement programs. But their position would likely have no effect on Parkhurst. She is a state legislator, and Medicare and Social Security are federal programs. She has absolutely no power over how the two programs are funded.

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