Our Southern Illinois readers have legitimate concerns about jobs, flood control and the future of the coal industry. No candidate has all the answers, but freshman U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, offers the best mix of experience and practicality to protect his 12th District constituents’ best interests.
Bost, 55, says he is willing to work with congressional Democrats to find answers to some of the district’s most pressing problems. His main opponent, Democrat Charles “C.J.” Baricevic, 31, of Belleville, is a smart and energetic attorney who has never held elective office. He could benefit from more experience before seeking a spot on the national stage.
Bost represents the moderate side of the Republican Party. He criticizes more conservative party members who have paralyzed government at times — such as those in the House Freedom Caucus — saying they “would rather say no and not govern.” A former firefighter and Marine, he was a state representative for 10 years before going to Congress.
His positions are understandable, given the importance of coal industry jobs to his district. But those jobs are disappearing, and workers need federal help with training programs and educational opportunities to make the transition.
Bost put up the best fight anyone could expect to bring the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s new western headquarters to his district. Though we’re glad he lost that battle to north St. Louis, we had to admire his spirit.
Also running is Green Party candidate Paula Bradshaw, 63, of Carbondale.