Congressman Mark Kirk has been a good public servant with a solid record of achievement for Lake County. We believe he deserves another two-year term in Washington, D.C.
His record since first being elected in 2000 speaks volumes about his constituent services in the 10th Congressional District, and, facing a second challenge from Democrat Dan Seals of Wilmette, his hard work the past two years solidifies in our minds that voters should re-elect him come Nov. 4. Kirk has been a leader and a fighter, when needed, for the 10th District. While a Republican, he has shown an independent streak and not been in lockstep with the Bush administration, as some would have us believe. Indeed, you don't get kudos from environmental groups, such as the National Wildlife Federation, if you agree with the policies of the Bush administration.
Kirk has tackled some nagging problems in the district and brought others to the forefront, such as: an $850,000 grant to establish a federal-local anti-gang taskforce for Waukegan and neighboring communities; support for the assault weapons ban; impact aid for North Chicago and Highland Park schools; working to reopen the 22nd Street gate at Naval Station Great Lakes; expanding literacy education for new immigrants; curtailing mercury pollution; battling for a cleaner Lake Michigan; transportation funding for the Route 60 bridge over the Tri-State Tollway, which is definitely not a bridge to nowhere.
He's also prodded Waukegan officials for torpedoing plans to clean up Waukegan Harbor after he helped snare a federal grant and labored to save billions in federal transit funds after Illinois officials were on the verge of losing that money. Too, the congressman has reached out to the county's new immigrant population with grants to expand literacy education and working to reunite immigrant families with their relatives.
One of the major points we like about Kirk is his steadfast championing of turning the North Chicago Veterans Affairs Medical Center into the nation's first joint VA-Defense Department hospital, the James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center, the $71 facility set to open in July 2010. That alone should silence Kirk's critics when it comes to questioning his support for the district's aging veterans.
This is the second matchup between Kirk and Seals and, frankly, we have heard nothing new from the challenger this go-round to sway us from backing the congressman for another term. The 10th District has a gem in Mark Kirk, and voters should keep him in Washington.
A gem indeed - now go get a sign, write a letter and most importantly get out and vote!