Candidates not pleased with Foster verbiage

  • Bill Foster

    Bill Foster

  • Juan Thomas

    Juan Thomas

  • Jim Hickey

    Jim Hickey

Posted2/25/2012 5:30 AM

During both candidate interviews and public forums, Democrat Bill Foster has clearly had his eyes already turned to a November clash with Republican Judy Biggert for the 11th Congressional District seat. They are the two candidates with existing Congressional voting records and the largest campaign bankrolls. As a result, at times, Foster has already begun referring to Biggert as "my opponent."

But fellow Democrats Juan Thomas and Jim Hickey reminded Foster this week that he still must get through them before moving on to a possible match against Biggert.


"The last time I checked, there's a primary on March 20," Thomas said at a candidate forum this week. "I'm a little tired of Mr. Foster talking about his opponent Judy Biggert. Juan Thomas and James Hickey are your opponents."

The comment came during a question about union support that appeared to be targeted at outing Foster for creating a theater lighting company that does not have unionized workers. Foster explained the workers at the company have considered unionizing several times. But good pay and strong benefits that already exist at the company have shown a union to be unnecessary, Foster said.

"Companies that have very good pay, good benefits, they do fine without unions," Foster said. "But there are times when a union is the only way that you're going to get justice in this country. The idea that you're going to prevent the rights for collective bargaining, I think, is wrong."

Foster pointed to his support for the Employee Free Choice Act while serving at the congressman in the 14th District as proof of his union support. The act was designed to make it easier for employees to unionize and gain access to binding arbitration.

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Thomas said Foster's support of the act proved nothing but a willingness to vote for a bill that already had vast Democratic support.

"I'm appalled that a man who would build a company and brag about all the jobs he created is now admitting they're not unionized," Thomas said.

Hickey also took a jab at Foster.

"We need American companies to use companies that have union workers," Hickey said. "Unlike Mr. Foster's (company) where they are non-unionized, I would like to bring unionized manufacturing firms back to America."

Hickey said he has four generations of union workers in his family, showing he has stronger union roots than either Foster or Thomas.

As the calendar moves closer to the March primary, both Thomas and Hickey have shown more of a willingness to attack Foster. Thomas has even created a Facebook page this week titled, "The Truth About Bill Foster," where daily comparisons of Foster and Biggert are posted along with criticism of some of Foster's congressional votes.

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