We have to admit, we were a bit concerned in the days leading up to last week’s election. When Chris Welch first announced he’d be challenging Karen Yarbrough for her state rep seat, we figured he wouldn’t put up much of a fight. The consensus seemed to be he was merely planted in the election to deflect Yarbrough’s attention away from campaigning against Eugene Moore for Democratic committeeman. Even if he were to give the campaign his all, we figured, there was no way he could overcome his dismal record as Dist. 209 board president.
As our mailboxes were inundated with four-page, glossy campaign mailings and we began to notice red yard signs on every free square inch of space in several Proviso villages, however, we began to wonder whether name recognition alone could win an election. Granted, some of the mailers severely missed the mark”our favorite was the one with the children in the egg carton”but many began to wonder why Yarbrough did not seem to be defending herself against the attacks or pointing out the half-truths and no-truths contained in the literature.
Fortunately, the voters of the 7th District and Proviso Township proved themselves intelligent enough to read between the lines. Though politicians are often seemingly able to erase years of misdoings from the public memory and replace them with meaningless positive buzzwords during a campaign, Welch’s resounding defeat proves there is only so much you can get away with.
With Welch cohort Eugene Moore losing his position as Democratic committeeman and thereby at least some of his ability to influence the steering of jobs and contracts at Dist. 209 and other area school districts to political allies, we hope this is the beginning of the end for the patronage empire that the two have built in the township. We trust Yarbrough will exercise a zero-tolerance policy for those who wish to continue running their affairs the old way.
Though the 4th District State Senate election was never expected to be highly contested, our reaction to the results in that race is mixed. Sure, we wanted Lightford to win, and said so in our endorsement two weeks ago. But we did not expect her opponent James T. Smith to receive only slightly more than 10 percent of the vote.
We did not feel that Smith had the political base and legislative know-how necessary to serve as an effective senator at this time. If you ask him, of course, his outsider status is his greatest strength, but we feel it would serve him well to balance his reformer agenda with a better understanding of the system he wishes to change. We hope that he was not overly discouraged by the defeat and continues to run for office in future, though not necessarily against Lightford, who we feel has done a stellar job. Too bad he doesn’t live in Proviso Township, as Welch still holds one more elected office”at least for now.