Endorsement: Foster for Democrats in U.S. House Dist. 11
The 11th Congressional District, as is the case with so may districts in Illinois, is one of those squiggly-drawn districts unfairly gerrymandered to provide Democrats with an advantage in the general elections. If you look at it on a map, it's shaped like an anchor, taking in parts of DuPage, Kane, Kendall and Will counties.
But sparks still can fly. On paper at least, this year's Democratic race in the district provides a microcosm for all the battles raging across the nation to define or redefine the future of the party -- an upstart left-wing challenge against an establishment incumbent.
Will County Board member Rachel Ventura of Joliet is waging an aggressive campaign against Rep. Bill Foster of Naperville, the only scientist to serve in Congress.
We long have been impressed with Foster. We've endorsed him in the past. We see no reason why we wouldn't endorse him again now. In fact, we endorse him enthusiastically. He is thoughtful, hardworking and effective, a public servant who focuses on results over headlines.
Did we mention that he's the only scientist to serve in Congress? This isn't just an irrelevant answer to a trivia question. At a time when Congress and our national dialogue seem increasingly to be ruled by passions and politics over reason, reflexive antagonisms over collaboration and negotiation, we should cherish a representative whose positions are centered through professional discipline around facts.
This is not to say that Foster lacks passion or inspiration. He works hard and courageously for what he believes. But he's also willing to work across the aisle to find common ground. He would rather make incremental progress than to engage in the kind of wishful thinking that leads nowhere "We live," he says, "in the real world."
Is he part of the party establishment? No doubt. Both Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Sen. Dick Durbin are supporting him. But so is progressive Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Evanston and, interestingly enough, almost a dozen members of the Will County Board where Ventura serves.
Ventura is energetic and her passions are real. But her views are sharply to the left, outside the mainstream that is representative of most of the district. We are concerned about a politics of the extreme, on both sides of the political spectrum. That kind of politics tends to lead to unending confrontation rather than to shared solutions.
Foster has earned renomination. We encourage Democratic primary voters to give it to him.