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An open seat in a safe Democratic district is seemingly hard to pass up. With Karen Yarbrough running for the double pension and patronage scraps of the inconsequential county Recorder of Deeds office, a good batch of Dems set their sights on her 7th District seat. Now we are down to four candidates and two top contenders – Rory Hoskins and Chris Welch.

Voters in Forest Park – who are likely to have the deciding votes in this race – know both of these men well.

Rory Hoskins is a two-term Forest Park village commissioner, an active dad, social worker, law school student and a person of political ambition. He’s been in politics, in one way or another, since he was a young man back in Texas working as a staff aide to a Lone Star legislator.

When the low-key Hoskins tells us that “public service is honorable,” that “politics is in my blood,” we believe him. We believe in those things, too.

That is why we enthusiastically endorse Rory Hoskins. He is smart, thoughtful and realistic. Hoskins understands the grave issues citizens face as Springfield punts and poses. He will bring a critical eye to state government; he sees that hard fiscal choices must be made now, not later. We admire his belief that state government must be fixed for the long term.

Chris Welch? We have nothing but contempt for Chris Welch. Under his all-powerful leadership as board president he has driven Proviso public high schools to the very lowest measurable rungs of education in this state. While his supporters benefit, a generation of young students has been condemned by his arrogance. The state of Illinois now runs the finances of the Proviso schools. What does that tell us? And Chris Welch wants us to send him to Springfield?

While Hoskins is idealistic about public service, to us Welch is the penultimate Illinois political animal. It is always about Chris Welch. Perhaps that is why he frequently refers to himself as Chris Welch.

Forest Parkers will have to sort out for themselves why the Calderone forces have gone all in for someone as slimy as Welch while freezing out Hoskins, the native son. It does not speak well of them.

Princess Dempsey is an energetic and bright candidate. We hope she stays active in local government. Beyonca Johnson is something of a puzzle to us and we cannot endorse her.