Countryman merits re-election

This is the fourth of The Northern Star’s political endorsements for Tuesday’s general election.

In the the race for state representative in the 76th district, which includes DeKalb, John Countryman deserves a third term.

Countryman is running against Robert H. Lee, Illinois solidarity candidate. Lee’s platform includes many worthy ideas, but Countryman has a better chance of passing new legislation.

Lee calls for more state funding for education and health care. Countryman has called for more state dollars for these goals also, but he has said he will support a moderate tax increase only if the money is guaranteed to go to the programs that need it. A tax increase earmarked for the general fund would be futile.

Countryman also is on the committee for higher education and as a returning representative, his voice is more likely to be heard on the House floor.

Lee also has called for the removal of “hidden” state taxes on items such as alcohol, cigarettes and utilities and instead raising revenue through the state’s income tax. Certainly, property owners would be willing to pay more income tax if real estate taxes were reduced. But does a higher income tax guarantee adequate state funding of education?

Once again, how can Lee guarantee that he can introduce any kind of tax reform as a newcomer to the House?

Countryman has worked for the interests of both NIU and DeKalb. The voice of a tenured representative who has served on the higher education committee is more likely to be heard by the House than the voice of a newcomer like Lee.