A republic, if you think you can keep it: Rewarding excellence

July 1, 1993

A republic, if you think you can keep it: Rewarding excellence

By Tim Huwe

At work, at play, in social interaction, or in civic activism, we have two options. We can reward excellence or we can encourage mediocrity. To do a job very well takes more effort than “just getting by.”

If an employee, a student, or friend goes above and beyond the call of duty, the best way to encourage that action is by some sort of incentive. A kind word to a deserving soul goes a long way. Conversely, if your excellence is disregarded, apathy and mediocrity ensue in rapid order.

Last week, two of The Rock River Times’ finest went beyond the call. They took the time to attend, pay attention, ask questions, expect answers, and report their findings.

The excellence displayed by Jeff Havens and Judy Howard should serve as an inspiration to us all. They attended a local meeting, paid attention, and brought back a story too hot for the rest of the region’s print media. You’ve heard and read about the 900 parolees entering the county annually until you’re steamed as they were. Jeff and Judy, I send you my props. If I fail to reward your excellence, I encourage mediocrity.

In about two weeks, we vote. With an eye on rewarding excellence, I look at the statewide ballot and Jim Ryan’s closing statement from the Coronado Debate. Ryan said we should consider experience, credibility, independence, and a record to display. I will use Ryan’s criteria.

The two easiest options are for the financial offices. Rhys Read and Julie Fox are running for treasurer and comptroller respectively. Both are CPAs with at least 15 years of accounting experience. They have far more financial experience than their competitors can display combined. Reward excellence. I will vote for them.

For governor, Cal Skinner is the only one I trust to be financially conservative, and he has more Springfield experience than his competitors combined. It is another easy choice.

For U.S. Senate, I trust Steven Burgauer to be the most fiscally conservative, and he is independent enough to call for specific fiscal reductions, which makes him credible.

“I sense a trend,” I hear some cynics say, “You’re being a biased partisan.” Au contraire. I wanted to vote for Jesse White over Kris Cohn. I really did. Then Matt Beauchamp became the Libertarian candidate for secretary of state. For me, he has the most credibility of the three. His website is hilarious, and he makes no bones about his mistrust of government unions. He’s my friend, and I’m voting for him. So sue me.

Which leads to attorney general, the only close race of the lot. Joe Birkett has the opportunity to arrest the admitted killer of Jeanine Nacarico today if he wants. Evidence chronicled by Tribune reporter Eric Zorn puts Brian Dugan as the murderer of the 10 year old girl with over 99 percent certainty. This is the most chronicled crime in DuPage County history. Birkett has no credibility or independence. When I see signs of his supporters, I wonder. Is it they don’t know, or they don’t care?

I con$idered $upporting Li$a Madigan for the po$t de$pite her limited expo$ure to the court$. Contribution$ to her campaign$ coffer$ by her Hou$e $peaker father $carcely mattered. I wa$ willing to ca$t a vote for her. Then, $he appeared locally on the radio. Her di$re$pect of gunowner$ right$ $wayed me $uddenly. $he lo$t my vote, leaving me with two option$.

With the knowledge I have about Birkett and Madigan, if I vote for the lesser of two evils, I will still vote for evil. I contemplated leaving the post blank. An undervote can leave a message in certain cases, but it would ensure the victory of another evil.

I must reward excellence, and these two have not displayed it. I don’t want to encourage mediocrity, so my vote goes to Gary Shilts.

Tim Huwe is the secretary of the Rockford Libertarians.

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