Endorsement: Gabel for Illinois House District 18
State Rep. Robyn Gabel, an Evanston Democrat, has served the 18th District for a decade. She prides herself on being an independent thinker for her North Shore district and champions issues including women's rights, children's issues, criminal justice reform, gun violence, the environment, health care and protecting seniors.
That said, she offers disappointingly timid reflections on the leadership of House Speaker Michael Madigan and corruption charges against him, asserting only that she reserves judgment until all the issues are resolved in court. Such reticence isn't exactly a resounding show of autonomy.
Challenger Sean Matlis, an Evanston Independent, is new to politics and fully admits he is "not a political person." Even so, he's knowledgeable about the state's issues and touts his independence as one of his great strengths, because he's not beholden to a political party. He says the legislature needs new blood to help restore the state's economy and bring reforms in areas such as ethics, tax policy, pensions and term limits.
He offers intriguing ideas on all these topics, but his lack of experience leaves much to doubt about how effective he can be in promoting them. While we wish she were more willing to stand up to the speaker, Gabel has done an admirable job for the 18th District and deserves another term. We endorse her, with the hope that Matlis will stay active in politics to gain some experience in government.