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Our pick: Morgenthaler for Congress in 6th District
Daily Herald Editorial Board
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Published: 10/24/2008 12:03 AM | Updated: 10/24/2008 8:08 AM

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Two years ago, a fierce battle was waged in the Sixth Congressional District in DuPage and Cook counties for an open House seat that had for years been solidly Republican. In the end, it remained in GOP hands when Peter Roskam won by a close margin over his Democratic rival Tammy Duckworth, a veteran injured while serving in Iraq.

We were concerned then about Roskam's support of President Bush's policies and decisions on the war, his conservative stances on social issues and whether he would add to the partisan divide in Congress.

Fast forward two years and we are still concerned about those issues with Congressman Roskam, 47, of Wheaton. Add to that his opposition to the economic recovery bill - against the advice of not only Democratic leaders but Republican leaders such as John McCain - and we continue to see a need for change.

This year, that change comes in the form of Democrat Jill Morgenthaler, who is endorsed.

Morgenthaler, 54, of Des Plaines, is a retired U.S. Army colonel and the former director of homeland security in Illinois. She supports getting our troops out of Iraq by setting clear benchmarks for withdrawal. She also supports the need to strengthen our presence in Afghanistan to fight the true terrorists.

On the economy, she supported the bailout. She also is correct when she says, "The problem isn't that government needs more money to spend; the problem is that government spends too much money on the wrong priorities." Setting priorities on spending, giving middle class tax breaks, finding new energy sources and making sure affordable health care is available to all are hallmarks of her campaign. She rightly criticized Roskam for not initially supporting a bill related to extending child health care because it included coverage for children of illegal immigrants.

She also was right in criticizing Roskam for co-sponsoring a bill that would prohibit the sale of certain magazines and videos on military bases. She said it would prohibit even R-rated materials; he says it would only prohibit pornographic materials. Is it really necessary for our military to determine what is or is not pornographic? That's hard enough for the Supreme Court to decide and something Congress should leave alone.

We are concerned about Morgenthaler endorsing a plan to allow a company later connected to convicted influence peddler Tony Rezko to lease a miliary facility in western Illinois. Her response that she didn't know about Rezko's involvement is not good enough. She needs to know what she signs her name to.

But that one attack by Roskam - in a negative ad that says as much about his campaign as hers - is not enough to overrule our endorsement. While we give Roskam credit for being a good communicator with his constituents back home, we believe Morgenthaler represents a fresh change in style and politics that we'd like to see in Washington.