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Opinion

Let's do things the right way in the 14th District

JACK ROESER

Editor: While this is still unconfirmed by the congressman, credible sources are reporting that U.S. Rep. Dennis Hastert may be planning to resign as early as Nov. 6, rather than finishing out his term. If Hastert does step aside early, Gov. Rod Blagojevich would get to pick two special election dates, one for a primary and one for a general election. The regular Illinois primary has already been moved up to Feb. 5. Not only would two new elections create considerably more confusion, but there would be significant new costs imposed on taxpayers. None of us should be surprised by these kinds of games. Recall the cynicism regarding the way Hastert first went to Congress. Hastert was picked by the insiders to replace Rep. John Grotberg on the ballot when he died in office after the March 1986 primary. There was considerable resentment at the time among many Republicans over the way Hastert was slated by the party bosses. Despite the justified hard feelings over the process, I reached out to all the precinct committeemen in the 14th Congressional District and advocated for uniting around Hastert in the general election. Hastert did hold on and was narrowly elected in November 1986. Like many others, I was optimistic that Hastert would become a fine congressman. Now that Denny has announced he won't seek re-election, I need not detail every disappointment here. However, past experience suggests voters would be wise to keep a close eye on this process to ensure that decisions are made for honest reasons. Voters should reject any attempt to finagle the process for the benefit of one particular candidate. I long considered Denny a good friend, and no one questions that he can point to some real accomplishments during his career. But it would be a shame if Hastert decided to inject more cynicism into a state where voters have clearly had their fill of phony games. The regular primary is just around the corner, and the November 2008 general election is barely more than a year away. Let's stick to the normal schedule, forget about the games ... and have an open and honest debate about who would best represent the 14th District in the future. JACK ROESER Founder and chairman Family Taxpayers Network Carpentersville

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