Every two years, the voting members of the Democratic Party of Oak Park consider making endorsements in the Democratic primary election. Unlike other political organizations, no one may “purchase” the right to vote on endorsements by paying membership dues; only those who have volunteered a sufficient amount of their time are eligible to participate in our endorsement process. It is only fair that the volunteers who exert the effort to turn out the vote be the ones who decide which candidates we support.

We design our endorsement rules to ensure that we have a clear consensus among our member volunteers. Only a candidate supported by two-thirds of our members will be sure of an endorsement, though we may endorse a candidate supported by a clear majority if the circumstances warrant.

I would like to highlight four impressive local candidates endorsed by the Democratic Party of Oak Park, who will do Oak Park proud in 2010. I am pleased to support Gov. Pat Quinn, Congressman Danny Davis, Ade Onayemi for Cook County Board commissioner and Judge Steven Fruth.

Gov. Pat Quinn is no stranger to Oak Park. He is a Fenwick High School graduate, and he lives across the street in Galewood. I’ve worked closely with him during his six years as lieutenant governor, and over his past year as governor. Pat Quinn has an unassailable, decades-long record of government and political reform. I joined with Gov. Quinn to pass the first-ever campaign finance limits this year. We should support Gov. Quinn’s efforts to keep and create jobs in Illinois while simultaneously reinventing Illinois government as a more transparent and accountable enterprise.

Congressman Danny Davis is a longtime progressive voice and a familiar face in Oak Park. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Congressman Davis on many occasions. Most recently, we worked together with the Coalition to Save Community Banking to secure a congressional hearing regarding the seizure of FBOP Corp.

Cook County government is in serious need of new leadership and structural reform. Ade Onayemi is a fine candidate to do both. Ade’s already impressive record of public service shows that he will be ready on day one to lead the effort to reform Cook County. Moreover, local officials and residents will find a representative ready to work for them and with them for many years to come.

In a crowded field of qualified candidates in the 11th judicial subcircuit, Judge Steven Fruth distinguishes himself in his unique combination of legal skills, community service and civic engagement. No other candidate in the race competes in all three arenas. Steve has more than 30 years of legal experience, with over 100 jury trials. He received the enthusiastic recommendations of every major bar association. Judge Fruth’s legal and community service records were clearly recognized when the Illinois Supreme Court appointed him to the bench. Judge Steve Fruth is a remarkable candidate, and I am proud to recommend him.

Please visit our voters’ guide at www.oakparkdems.org to view your sample ballot and to find more information on all the candidates.

• Don Harmon is an Illinois state senator, 39th District, and Democratic committeeman who lives in Oak Park.

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