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Editorial: Four more endorsements for Congress

FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016, file photo, work lights illuminate scaffolding around the Senate and the Capitol Dome, part of a long-term repair project, in Washington. On Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, the Treasury Department releases federal budget data for January. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) ORG XMIT: NYBZ302

Today, we complete our endorsements in Chicago-area congressional races in the March 15 primaries.

Early voting at satellite facilities begins Monday. For suburban Cook County sites, go to www.countyclerk.com. For city sites, go to www.chicagoelections.com. To read our endorsements in the other Chicago-area congressional races, the state Legislature races and the Cook County Circuit Court clerk race, as well as for candidate questionnaires and related news stories, go to suntimescandidates.com.

7th District, Democratic Primary

Danny K. Davis has been in Congress since 1997 and there’s no denying he has slowed down. His legislative output in the last eight years has not been impressive and he loves those expense-paid “fact-finding” trips — what others call junkets. But there’s also no denying Davis’ deep understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of his district and its needs; and there’s no denying his past successes. Davis pushed through the earned income tax credit for low-income Americans, for which some 92,000 residents of his district are eligible. He sponsored the New Markets Tax Credit Program in 2000 that created incentives to invest in low-income communities. Davis is opposed by Thomas Day, an Iraq War Army veteran with lots of education, including master’s degrees from Northwestern and the University of Chicago. Day is an impressive young man — we expect to see more of him — but he has never held elective office or otherwise been tested in public life.

10th District, Democratic Primary

First it’s Brad Schneider over Bob Dold, then Dold over Schneider, and now Schneider’s looking for another rematch. Been there and done that. Time to move on. Our endorsement goes to Nancy Rotering, the mayor of Highland Park, who took a terrific stand against gun violence by pushing through a municipal ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines. A federal appellate court upheld the ban — an important symbolic step toward sanity in our nation’s gun laws — and the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a challenge to the law. Now Rotering is pushing a similar statewide ban in Illinois. This is leadership. Schneider, for his part, disappointed many supporters — now former supporters — when he unwisely opposed President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran. Whatever enthusiasm we had for Schneider’s candidacy waned as well.

11th District, Republican Primary

As a cardiologist, Nick Stella says, he often has had to provide medical care to patients for free — they just don’t have the insurance coverage. Half of medical specialists, he says, won’t even accept Medicaid patients, and too little of Medicaid’s funding goes to doctors and hospitals. In Congress, Stella says, he would work to revise the Medicaid program and repeal the Affordable Care Act, but make sure it is replaced by “a health care system that provides quality coverage” at an affordable price. He says he has seen “first-hand patients that put off dire medical services due to cost and inadequate healthcare insurance.” He would continue Obamacare’s protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions and allow young adults to stay on family insurance plans until age 26. Both Stella and opponent particle physicist Herman B. White lack political experience, but Stella strikes us as up on the issues while White tends to speak in generalities. A third candidate, Tonia Khouri, did not participate in our endorsement process. We endorse Stella.

14th District, Democratic Primary

Three Democrats full of passion but short on public service are vying for the honor of taking on Republican Rep. Randy Hultgren November. The 14th has voted Republican for decades, save for a few years when Bill Foster represented the district, and its boundaries have been redrawn since then to make the odds even tougher for a Democrat. We endorse Jim Walz, a sales rep in the snacks and candy industry and current member of the Warren Township High School Board. His aim, he says, would be to represent middle-class Americans whose political power was gutted by the 2010 Supreme Court “Citizens United” decision that allows unlimited election spending by individuals and corporations. He hopes to work on campaign finance reform and jobs programs for military veterans moving back into civilian life. He says the federal government should be allowed to negotiate the prices of Medicare drugs. Walz is preferred over self-employed businessman John Hosta, who has coached football, and Jesse Maggitt, a retired Army major who did not attend an endorsement meeting.

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