Endorsement: Castro for Democrats in Illinois Senate District 22
Illinois Sen. Cristina Castro's signature accomplishment during her first term was acting as chief Senate sponsor for consolidation legislation that merged nearly 650 pension governing bodies in Illinois into just two.
The success of the bipartisan measure required determination and coalition building, and Castro deserves credit for the role she played. The Elgin Democrat will need similar qualities as she continues to push a promising climate bill she is leading, the Clean Energy Jobs Act, during the coming session.
So, in one sense, it is easy to endorse Castro for her party's nomination to seek a second term in District 22. She works hard and focuses on serious issues facing the state and the district, which covers communities west from Hoffman Estates to Elgin and north to portions of Carpentersville. But her candidacy is not without its warning signs.
For example, while it is noteworthy that Gov. J.B. Pritzker thought enough of her to include her on the bipartisan Joint Commission on Ethics and Lobby Reform charged with producing transformative rules to address the legislature's ethics crisis, her responses to ideas that have been proposed seem decidedly vague and noncommittal. She is similarly disappointing when it comes to the topic of redistricting reform. Both topics demand passion from rank-and-file lawmakers, and Castro is going to have to show considerably more independence and determination if she is to contribute to any meaningful action on them.
Her challenger, Rae Yawer of Streamwood, is well-meaning and sincere but unfortunately does not show promise of having greater impact on ethics or Fair Maps than the incumbent, nor does she demonstrate a command of the other issues equal to what Castro has achieved in her first term.
So, Castro gets our endorsement for the Democratic nomination in Senate District 22, but it comes with a strong expectation for her to find the gumption and commitment needed to influence some of the most important political issues facing Illinois.