Friday, January 4, 2008

Andy Martin says Illinois lacks a U.S. Senator in Washington, and Fermilab suffers

“He works for
the People of Illinois”
Republican for U. S. Senator
Suite 4406
30 E. Huron Street
Chicago, IL 60611-4723
(312) 440-4124



(CHICAGO)(January 1, 2008) Today's Chicago Sun-Times editorial says it all: Illinois is losing funding for basic scientific research. High-tech jobs will be lost; America's technology future will be impaired and endangered. It didn’t have to be this way.,CST-EDT-edit04B.article

In early December I went to a meeting of the Chicago Tribune editorial board. One of the writers asked, "How can you justify losing Senator Richard Durbin's power and influence in Washington?" (My recollection of the words but not an exact quote; the Tribune recorded the session.) I responded, "Durbin has built a mighty political empire for himself but he is a legislative pygmy when it comes to representing Illinois' interests." Durbin was powerless, I said, to represent Illinois because he was a hyperpartisan who could promote himself but who could not promote bipartisan agenda for progress. At the very time I was making those claims Durbin and Barack Obama were losing the battle to protect funding for Fermilab.

Democrats in Illinois are addicted to patronage. Thirty-five years after the Shakman litigation reached a high point, the Dems still find ways to shoehorn people into political jobs. They are less concerned with high-tech employment, where merit, not clout, is the key. Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois is a national treasure. It is part of our hope for energy independence. It Fermilab's continued funding is essential if we are not to slowly slip into banana republic status as other nations take the lead and we slip into scientific irrelevance. China and India are building new technology universities and graduating tens of thousands of scientists. We are closing down our basic research. Is something wrong?

The University of Chicago is one of the cradles of nuclear physics. Likewise, the Digital Computer Laboratory at the University of Illinois led the way with the computer revolution. Today Illinois is becoming a has-been. It's tragic. Based on my university background, I can be a spokesman for basic science and scientific research, conducted here in Illinois. I understand the problems; I understand the solution.

During much of the Twentieth Century Illinois had a tradition of electing one Democrat and one Republican to the U.S. Senate. This informal approach to government made sense. Illinois is ultimately a middle-of-the-road, a moderate state. Some of us are more liberal, and some of us are more conservative, but very few of us are on the extreme of either ideology.

As the low man on Senator Paul Douglas's office staff in 1966, I got to shuttle between Senator Douglas' office and Senator Everett Dirksen's office. The two men could not have been more different in personality and approach. But today we live in Dirksen/Douglas America, a land formed by Everett Dirksen's legislative compromises and Paul Douglas' vision. The two senators cooperated fully when it came to Illinois issues. Together, they were an odd couple, but a powerful one. And Illinoisans benefited.

Fast forward to 2008. Illinois is represented by two of the most liberal senators in the Senate. Eighty percent of the state feels unrepresented in Washington. Hyperparstisanship closes off the corridors of compromise and accommodation. And both Durbin and Obama are focused on building and expanding their own personal political empires and national reputations, not getting the nitty gritty done for Illinois and the nation.

The result: Fermilab is suffering, the budget is being cut, and our technology leadership is slowly passing to China, India and Europe. Sad but true. Is the U. of I. next?

Today I am working to reverse the disenfranchisement of Illinois citizens. I am fighting to elect a Republican to the U. S. Senate. I told the Tribune editors what I write here: I will work with both sides and all sides to get the job done for Illinois.

My campaign slogan says it all: "He works for the People of Illinois." I will never be as good at personal empire building, self-aggrandizing politics as Durbin. He knows how to feather his nest. I care about the disenfranchised citizens and future generations of Illinois. Now that he has finally served in a formal leadership role, Durbin has proven he can’t get the job done. Yes, he has fooled the Tribune's editors. But he can't fool the people who are losing their jobs; he can't fool our science graduates who will move elsewhere to conduct basic research.

At a time when Illinois' science budgets are being cut in Washington, we have to face reality. Illinois today has no senator in Washington. We have a puny voice with pigmy politicians who are totally focused on building up themselves, not this state. We have no influence. We have nothing. Just ask the people at Fermilab how influential our representatives in the U.S. Senate are.

Illinois needs a real senator in Washington. A Republican. I want to serve. On February 6, 2008, the real campaign begins for the U. S. Senate. The real debate. I'm ready. Are the media? Are you?

© Copyright by Andy Martin 2007. Chicago-based Martin holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law. Comments? E-mail: Media contact: (312) 440-4124. Web site:

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