State Rep. Calvin Giles’ time is up. Or so we hope. In 12 years, his greatest accomplishment as a state legislator has been to confuse constituents in wondering if he’s actually a state legislator at all. He is invisible and voiceless.
Giles’ Democratic primary opponent LaShawn K. Ford, on the other hand, is a former teacher who has built a successful realty business in the Austin community. He is as active and visible as Giles is not. Ford would be a markedly improved choice over the incumbent.
Ford has proven to be thoughtful and responsive to constituents’ concerns. Giles touts his seniority and understanding of the legislative process as major strengths. But his failure to comply with state campaign disclosure laws to the tune $144,000 in assessed fines by the Illinois State Board of Elections shows he has no respect for the government processes designed to make our elections honest. He eventually settled the matter with the state for pennies on the dollar. Unacceptable.
But Ford, even by his own admission, has more work to do in broadening his depth of knowledge on the issues. If elected, he’ll come in with many ideas, but must still learn the process, which will not take any 12 years to achieve.
And Ford must understand that he represents the entire district and not just his familiar Austin haunt that surely does require his attention given the change occurring in that part of the district. There’s Oak Park, Riverside, Forest Park and portions of the Proviso and Berwyn Townships requiring full representation.
Ford has run twice before. He promises to be present in the district and appears sincere.
Ford has an opportunity to produce results rather than just build a political resume. We believe he has chance to do just that.