Endorsement: Rockford Register Star endorses Dick Durbin for U.S. Senate

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

In two terms in the U.S. Senate, Dick Durbin has shown he can deliver for the Rock River Valley.

Durbin has helped our area get money for roads, the federal courthouse, Chicago Rockford International Airport, Crusader Clinic, EIGERlab, Keith Creek flood control, Patriots Gateway Center, commuter rail studies and numerous other projects.

He has shown he can work across party lines, notably with U.S. Rep Don Manzullo, to get money for vital projects. Because of his ability to get things done, the Illinois Democrat gets our endorsement over Republican challenger Dr. Steven Sauerberg.

Durbin says he has tried to focus on areas outside Chicago, and his record shows that he has succeeded. In addition to the Rockford-area projects, he has worked to widen U.S. 20 to Galena, acquired money for Peoria’s airport, and delivered for projects in southern Illinois such as the Southern Illinois Research Park and money for Carlyle and Rend lakes. His record of representing the needs of Illinoisans from one end of the state to the other is too long to list here.

However, our support goes beyond what he’s done for the state: He’s become a national leader. Durbin, as majority whip, is the Senate’s second most powerful member. He is the first Illinois senator in decades to serve on the powerful Appropriations Committee. He has been a leader in consumer and public safety issues.

Durbin opposed the war in Iraq from the beginning and thinks the U.S. needs to start bringing troops home. However, he thinks more troops need to be sent to Afghanistan to quell the terrorist threat that grows from there.

On energy, he supports a varied approach, including alternative energy and clean coal. He thinks there still is hope for FutureGen in southern Illinois. FutureGen, a public-private partnership to create the world’s first coal-fueled, near-zero emissions power plant, was stalled when the Department of Energy decided the project was getting too expensive.

Illinois has an abundance of coal, and a project such as FutureGen could bring hundreds of much-needed jobs to the state.

Health care is a priority, and Durbin is pushing his Small Business Health Options Program Act, or SHOP, which offers business owners tax credits to reduce the cost of health insurance, access to a larger pool of providers, and reforms to provide more stable and affordable premiums.

Durbin said his plan would affect 1.8 million employees of the state’s 250,000 small businesses and 500,000 people who are self-employed.

Sauerberg, a family-care doctor from Willowbrook, has good ideas that should be explored. He knows what works and what doesn’t in health care because he lives with the system every day. He said he has been working on his “Your Health Care, Your Choice” plan for 10 years. His proposal would create a basic health-care plan that everyone in the country could buy into.

Sauerberg also is a proponent of nuclear energy, rightly pointing out how well it’s worked for us in northern Illinois.

However, Durbin is a proven commodity who could gain even more influence in Washington in the next six years. We believe he deserves your vote.

Rockford Register Star