Betsy Dirksen Londrigan narrowly lost to U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis two years ago. She can win it this time around.
13th Congressional District
Nearly four years ago to the day, U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis shot a jolt of independence and political courage into the 13th Congressional District race by withdrawing his support for the Republican Party presidential nominee, Donald Trump.
“As parents of a teenage daughter and teen twin boys, my wife and I teach them to respect women and that they will be judged by their words and actions,” Davis said on Oct. 8, 2016, after vulgar comments Trump made about women in a 2005 interview were revealed. “The abhorrent comments made by Donald Trump are inexcusable and go directly against what I’ve been doing in Washington to combat assaults on college campuses.
“Because of this, I am rescinding my support for Donald Trump and asking to have my name removed from his agriculture advisory committee. With the terrible options America has right now, I cannot cast my vote for any of the candidates, so I hope Donald Trump withdraws from the race so the American people can elect Mike Pence as our next president.”
Yet four years later, those inexcusable comments — as well as others Trump has made publicly about veterans, political rivals, Gold Star parents, journalists and others — have been excused by Davis.
He now is co-chair of the Trump re-election campaign in Illinois and yet insists he is an independent-minded congressman who deserves re-election. In truth, he is one of Trump’s enablers.
For a true independent-minded Republican congressman from Illinois, look at Rep. Adam Kinzinger in the neighboring 16th District, who frequently criticizes the president, isn’t on the Trump re-election committee but supports traditional Republican principles.
Davis, by contrast, has shown little concern for the ever-expanding federal budget deficit, made worse by the 2017 tax-cut bill that heavily benefited corporations and the wealthy, and by Trump’s trade wars that have necessitated billions in new government payments to farmers.
13th District voters have a politically reasonable alternative to Davis in Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign graduate from Springfield who narrowly lost to Davis two years ago.
Londrigan’s prime reason for running, both times, has been to improve and lower the cost of health care. She also recognizes that rebuilding the agricultural economy will require expanded trade agreements because the current program — those billions in payments to farmers — is unsustainable.
She supports the Second Amendment but says there’s a need for legislation to apply universal background checks on gun sales and to keep firearms out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.
Londrigan deserves a chance to demonstrate what she can do in Congress. Davis has had eight years and has little to show for it, particularly the last four years with a Republican administration. The lack of a federal infrastructure bill, with Davis as the ranking member of a major transportation subcommittee, is an example.
If elected, Londrigan would become the first woman to represent Champaign-Urbana in Congress. We’d like to see her make history.
Sen. Dick Durbin, who is seeking his fifth term in the Senate, is opposed by Mark Curran, R-Libertyville, an attorney and past Lake County sheriff. Durbin, a big supporter of the University of Illinois, is preferred.