By: The Pantagraph Editorial Board
18th Congressional District
The 18th Congressional District has been Republican for decades and we see no compelling reason for that to change.
U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood of Dunlap deserves election to his first full term, despite the earnest and thoughtful campaign of Democrat Junius Rodriguez, a professor at Eureka College.
LaHood, a former state senator, won a special election in 2015 to finish the term of Republican Aaron Schock, and then won a primary election for a spot on the November ballot. The former state and federal prosecutor is a conservative Republican interested in fighting opioid/heroin abuse, funding infrastructure and lighting a spark under a stagnant economy.
Those are traditional areas for any Republican, but LaHood also sponsored the bipartisan Congress of Tomorrow project that aims to make Congress more efficient, accountable and effective.
An early supporter of Texas Sen. Marco Rubio, LaHood says he supports Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee, but he also is willing to work with Hillary Clinton if she is elected.
He supports tax reform, says the Affordable Care Act needs to be reworked or it’s “going to collapse under its own weight,” wants more accessible college loans and self-regulation of state university costs, pointing to “five-star dorms” as an example; and supports more money for border patrol and an updated system for legalization.
Rodriguez is the best Democrat candidate in the 18th in recent memory, but LaHood has the edge on background, involvement in the district and months of relationship-building under his belt.
He deserves election to a full term.
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