Endorsement: Schneider for U.S. rep from the 10th District
We long have appreciated U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider's spirit of bipartisanship. We have recognized in particular how well that spirit meshes with the centrist independence of Illinois' 10th Congressional District.
The Highland Park Democrat's work in Washington continues to demonstrate that kind of politics, despite the bitter polarization of our times. In fact, his performance ranks as the most bipartisan of the suburban Chicago Congressional delegation in the latest Bipartisan Index calculated by a collaboration of the widely respected Lugar Center and the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University.
"The Bipartisan Index measures how often a member of Congress introduces bills that attract co-sponsors from the other party and how often they in turn co-sponsor a bill introduced from across the aisle," the organizations say in a written explanation.
That alone is sufficient to recommend Schneider for another term in a North suburban lakeshore district long famous for its moderate, bipartisan sentiment.
But Schneider's candidacy has much more to speak for it. Now eight years into his congressional career, Schneider is emerging as an important player in the U.S. House.
He is a member of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. He also is an expert participant on the Committee on Foreign Affairs, which provides him with an important voice on issues dealing with Ukraine, Russia, Europe and the Middle East as well as matters such as climate change and cybersecurity.
At the same time, we cannot express strongly enough our appreciation for the sensitive and reassuring role he played in comforting and proactively supporting the Highland Park community after the senseless mass shooting on July 4.
In that light, Schneider has long believed the sale of military-style assault weapons should be banned and he has worked toward that in Congress.
His opponent Joe Severino of Lake Forest takes an extreme opposite view on that subject. He argues that the solution to America's gun violence is to ban gun-free zones everywhere. In an interview, one of our editorial board members offered him the chance to clarify where he would make exceptions -- for, say, protesters standing outside the state Capitol in Michigan or protesting outside the home of a Supreme Court justice? No, Severino said, no exceptions. He would eliminate gun-free zones everywhere, he reiterated.
Severino has complained about Schneider's refusal to debate him or appear in joint interviews. He has a point about that. Schneider owed that not to Severino but to the voters,
Severino also has tried to make an ethics case against the congressman. Schneider does, indeed, have some vulnerability in this regard. He "forgot" to mention a stock transaction until two months past the deadline to report it. When he bought a new house in Highland Park, he carried homestead exemptions on it as well as the old one in Deerfield. And the operations manager for his congressional office was convicted of padding his pay by $80,000. Innocent oversights on Schneider's part? Perhaps. But it was not just one, and they do add up. He needs to clear the decks of them in the future.
That said, Severino has failed to make the case for cynical corruption. And failing at that, he fails to make the case to unseat a congressman whose legislative performance and stewardship has otherwise been a model for others.
Our endorsement goes to Schneider.