ENDORSEMENT: Lauren Underwood for Congress in the 14th District
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On Sept. 20, Democrat Lauren Underwood appeared before the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board. Watch the video at the top of the page to find out why she’s running for the 14th Congressional District seat in Illinois in the 2018 general election.
In the spring of last year, Lauren Underwood, then working for a Medicaid managed care company, found herself at a public forum featuring Rep. Randy Hultgren. The congressman, who has been a consistent critic of the Affordable Care Act — more commonly known as “Obamacare” — assured his listeners he would not vote for any Republican alternative health care law that did not include affordable insurance coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions.
Weeks later, Hultgren cast a deciding vote for the American Healthcare Act, a sham of a replacement for Obamacare that would, in fact, make health care less affordable for people with pre-existing conditions.
That’s when Underwood decided to run for Congress.
We have endorsed Hultgren in the past, but we can’t this year.
On key issues such as health care, tax cuts that favor the wealthiest Americans and lax gun laws, we believe he is increasingly out of step with a majority of 14th District voters. Hultgren’s district leans Republican, but no longer by much.
And now that the district is more competitive, especially in this potential “blue wave” year, it finally has attracted a highly qualified and credible Democratic alternative — Underwood.
She is a registered nurse from Naperville who served as a special assistant and senior adviser to President Barack Obama on health issues. She worked with hospitals to make sure they were properly prepared and equipped to handle sudden and deadly epidemics, such as an outbreak of the Ebola virus.
Time and again, as President Donald Trump and his administration have offended the sensibilities of decent Americans — demonizing immigrants, trashing our allies, attacking the FBI and trading love notes with despots — docile Republicans such as Hultgren have protested too little too late, when they have spoken up at all. We endorse Underwood, clear-eyed and accomplished, because we’ve had it with all that.
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Ahead of the historic 2018 elections, the Sun-Times is teaming up weekly with the Better Government Association, in print and online, to fact-check the truthfulness of the candidates. You can find all of the PolitiFact Illinois stories we’ve reported together here.