Local Editorials

Endorsement: U.S. Senate: Mark Kirk

In the race for U.S. Senator from Illinois, incumbent Republican Mark Kirk is facing a difficult challenge from U.S. Rep. Tammy
Duckworth.

The race is a high-profile one nationally because Democrats are trying to flip at least four seats to retake the U.S. Senate from Republicans, and this is considered among the most winnable races because it’s in blue state Illinois.

Kirk, who suffered a major stroke in early 2012, about a year into his first Senate term, says he has made a full cognitive recovery.

Before being elected to the Senate, Kirk, of Fort Sheridan, served five terms in the U.S. House.

A former Navy reservist, Kirk is a fiscal conservative and social moderate who has split from his party on issues such as gay marriage and gun control. He says he wants to reform the U.S. tax code and balance entitlement programs to attack the national debt.

He was the first federally elected Republican to state publicly that he would not support
Donald Trump for president.

Kirk deserves criticism both for embellishing his military record and for comments such as the “bro without a ho” one he made about unmarried Sen. Lindsay Graham, for which he has apologized.

Duckworth has criticized Kirk for his misstatements, calling them unprofessional.

An Iraq War veteran, Duckworth lost both her legs after her helicopter was shot down in 2004. She was first elected to her U.S. House seat in 2012.

Duckworth says she supports free community college, though she doesn’t have a plan to pay for it other than saying that businesses that need trained workers could pay the costs of college programs in the fields they need. Kirk opposes what he calls another entitlement program, saying the U.S. cannot afford it.

Duckworth says she would tackle the country’s huge debt by cutting waste in military spending and other areas.

Both candidates support free trade agreements, saying they help Illinois businesses and workers.

Green Party candidate Scott Summers of Harvard and Libertarian Kenton McMillen also are on the ballot.

We endorse Kirk.

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