Foster-Biggert Battle Is Little Choice for Voters

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Foster-Biggert Battle Is Little Choice for Voters
By Ray Hanania
Southwest News-Herald Newspaper Oct. 19, 2012 Friday

Don’t you love it when millionaire politicians attack each other by calling their opponents “millionaires?”

That’s what’s happening between Congresswoman Judy Biggert and former Congressman Bill Foster in the new 11th Congressional district, a Bermuda Triangle of space stretching from Aurora, Naperville to Joliet.

Biggert, one of the least responsive members of congress (I’ve called her office 10 times in the past few years, and never got one response), is facing Foster, one of the worst Democrats to seek public office.

A member of congress since 1999 representing the former Southwest and West suburban 13th District, Biggert is the privileged daughter of a former president of the Walgreens fortune. Her family, from Wilmette, bought her local office out in mini-Wilmette, Hinsdale, where she used her millions to quickly step up to congress.

Foster is no better, of course. A Harvard graduate raised in spoiled wealth, he and his brother built a business in Wisconsin but migrated to Illinois to stake out a political dynasty.

Neither candidate has spoken to the issues that affect voters like the lack of jobs, the failing economy, the absence of good healthcare, or the lagging quality of our local schools. Safety is at risk, terrorism and bigotry remain major concerns, and home foreclosures have been high.

Their campaign commercials which are polluting television screens, are poorly crafted. Biggert even missed the mark in many of hers, claiming falsely that Foster outsourced jobs to foreign countries.

Close, but wrong. Foster is an anti-union rich guy who buys up companies in foreign countries, investing his money overseas rather than in American workers.

Biggert’s biggest problem is she is arrogant. She looks down on voters in her district, voters who have never really had a significant choice. It was either her or some other unknown rich guy with the same silver-spooned career.

Yet despite Biggert’s failings, she is clearly better than Foster. Arrogant women in politics are few and far between. Uncaring men like Foster who could care less about the middle class are a dime a dozen in congress.

Biggert’s greatest asset is that she is a moderate Republican who has no choice but to stand in the same GOP with Tea Party extremists. Her moderation is something to cheer for, even if her rigid political views prevent her from serving all of her constituents.

It’s not surprising she is an ally of Cook County Commissioner Elizabeth “Liz” Doody Gorman, who is a taxpayer champion. Gorman almost single-handedly took down Chicago’s greedy tax—hungry Democratic Machine by stubbornly refusing to give up on repealing the dreaded Todd Stroger sales tax hike.

It was a repressive tax targeting middle class consumers to feed the bloated expanse of wasteful county spending. Suburban Cook County residents get very little for the millions they pour into the county’s bottomless pockets.

Gorman supports Biggert. Even though Biggert’s TV commercials are poorly crafted with blurred messages. Even though Biggert has been non-responsive to so many middle class constituents in her old district. And even though it is unlikely that a spoiled rich kid who skyrocketed to power on the backs of daddy’s fortunes in upscale Wilmette, the fact is the devil you know is far better than the devil you don’t know.

Biggert will clearly be a better member of congress offering more hope for change than Foster, who probably sees this new district as just another foreign business he can acquire for his own personal gain.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist. Reach him at — City & Suburban News-Herald

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites and (Illinois News Network at

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post,, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

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