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Despite what you may be led to believe by their ruthlessly negative campaign ads, either challenger Mike Bost or incumbent Bill Enyart would leave Southern Illinois voters well represented in Washington. Green Party candidate Paula Bradshaw would not.

We again applaud Bradshaw's participation in the process, but either the "Green New Deal" really isn't a deal at all, or Bradshaw has to do a much, much better of explaining it.

We like Bill Enyart. We like having a former Major General as our representative and as a member of the House Armed Services Committee and feel that he has and would continue to protect the interests of Scott Air Force Base. Although he follows a fairly Democratic party-line position on both immigration and support for the Affordable Care Act, we appreciate his stated preference to continue tweaking Obamacare.

Enyart has the benefit of having a full term under his belt and with the substantial learning curve experienced by freshmen congressmen, may be even more effective in a second term.

But residents of Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Perry, Randolph, Union and Williamson Counties are not used to voting for Enyart. He did not even run in the 2012 Democratic primary, was defeated by Republican Jason Plummer in our 7-county area in the 2012 General Election and ran unopposed in this spring's primary.

Without being the incumbent, we're far more familiar with Bost and more comfortable with him representing us. He seems like one of us because he is; born and raised in Murphysboro, Bost has represented residents of the 115th district for 20 years. He has been elected and reelected -- often garnering more than 70 percent of votes cast.

Bost is a former firefighter and Marine, ran his family’s trucking business for nearly a decade and together with wife Tracy has operated a small family beauty salon in Murphysboro. Together with his time served in the state legislature, that’s a broad range of experiences that he’ll bring to Washington.

Bost is a supporter of a strong defense -- and of maintaining the level of defense spending necessary to accomplish that. But although not as specific as we would have liked, his record in the Illinois General Assembly leads us to conclude that Bost would be more vigilant in reigning federal government spending than Enyart.

Bost was a leader in work to create the Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Act last year and showed he could work with groups having vastly different interests to reach a compromise. That skill; the ability to work toward compromise; is often talked about during campaigns; it’s a lot better when we see it in action.

We would be remiss not to comment on the topic of decorum and the balance between professionalism and passion required to effectively represent us. Mike Bost’s rant on the house floor in May of 2012 was a big topic of conversation then; and is again, largely due to Enyart’s television commercials. Enyart refers to Bost’s tirade as “a temper tantrum.” Bost defends that one-time rant by saying “there are times when we need our legislators to stand up for us”.

We agree with Bost. And while not endorsing more frequent rants, Congress’ current 14 percent job approval rating may be partially due to too much “business as usual” and not enough passion. Frankly, we need someone in Washington willing to fight for us.

We therefore endorse Mike Bost as the best choice to represent Southern Illinois’ interests in Washington.


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