GLENWOOD | Village President Kerry Durkin on Saturday told a Republican candidate with aspirations of succeeding Jesse Jackson Jr. that he views the GOP as being so hostile toward his community that he won’t consider any of the party’s political candidates.
“I personally don’t think I’ll vote for a Republican again in my life,” said Durkin, who supports Democrat Debbie Halvorson for the Feb. 26 special election for Congress.
A congressional forum at the Senior Center on Saturday offered candidates a chance to speak for five minutes each and answer questions from the audience.
Durkin made his statement after Republican congressional hopeful Eric Wallace finished speaking. Durkin said he sees Republican members of Congress as being hostile toward any funding for projects that could benefit his community – such as proposals to allow Glenwood to build its own infrastructure to get Lake Michigan water, rather than having to purchase it from either Chicago or Hammond at exorbitant rates.
Durkin wasn't alone in his criticism of the Republican Party.
One woman asked Wallace why she should vote to add to a political party in the House of Representatives that she views as “obstructionist” toward President Barack Obama.
Wallace said that while the political system in this country ought to have “a debate back and forth,” it is important for a political party to stand for certain principles.
“We need a fidelity to morals and principles,” he said.
Later, he said of federal spending programs, “We have too much debt. That is what keeps us from creating jobs.”
Wallace also said he’s not surprised to get a negative reaction in the suburban Cook County portion of the congressional district, includes 60 percent of the district's voters. The district stretches from 53rd Street in Chicago south to the Kankakee/Iroquois county line.
“A lot of people here, when they hear ‘Republican,’ think ‘lock the door, close the shutters,’” he said. “But this district is at a crossroads when we decide who to hire to be our next congressman.”
The forum in Glenwood was open to all 22 Democratic and Republican candidates whose names will appear on the Feb. 26 primary ballots. But Halvorson – who praised Durkin’s comments by saying, “He is right about investing more in communities” — was the only one of the major candidates who attended.
Halvorson, who served a two-year term in Congress before losing in the 2010 elections, said she thinks that fact is unfortunate.
“You see which candidates are here today?” Halvorson said. “The ones who are not here are sitting in a room somewhere trying to raise money to pay for their expensive campaigns against me.”