Tag: Bill Foster

Bill Foster Goes to Bat for Veterans

U.S. Congressman Bill Foster from the 14th Congressional District in Illinois is quickly making a name for himself standing up for our military veterans. The 14th District is the seat vacated by former Speaker of the House Denny Hastert. According to the Daily Chronicle:

Beginning next year, veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces will have easier access to higher education.

But, effective immediately, the U.S. military will have a tremendous new recruiting tool.

Monday, U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Batavia, delivered this news to a small gathering of war veterans at the St. Charles Veterans of Foreign Wars Post, lauding the recent passage of the so-called 21st Century GI Bill.

“Right after we have celebrated our independence for the 232nd time, we have a chance to honor and give back to the men and women who make sure we keep on having Independence Days,” Foster said.

Promoted by Sen. Jim Webb, D-Virginia, and signed into law by President Bush late last month, the GI Bill enhances college tuition benefits to active-duty service personnel who have served since Sept. 11, 2001. For veterans who have served at least three years, the bill guarantees that the federal government will fund 100 percent of tuition costs at public, in-state colleges and universities and 50 percent of private school tuition.

Veterans who served less than three years can also receive lesser benefits on a graduated scale, beginning at 40 percent of tuition and fees for at least 90 days of consecutive active duty service.

The bill also grants money for all fees, a new monthly housing stipend and $1,000 a year for books and supplies.

There was some opposition to this bill in both parties, but Jim Webb has a solid reputation among veterans, and the bill was supported by many of America’s leading veterans organizations, including the VFW, American Legion, AmVets and others. It had the support of Senator Barack Obama, but, amazingly, became the ill-advised punching bag of one veteran, Senator John McCain. Republicans did not stand with McCain on this one:

In a surprising rebuke to John McCain, 25 of his fellow Republican senators today approved a veterans’ benefits proposal that their presidential nominee has made a controversial decision to oppose.

The veterans’ plan passed today would strengthen education benefits for US soldiers that have not been updated since 1984. McCain, a Vietnam war veteran, echoes the Bush administration’s concerns that the plan could entice too many troops to leave the military for college.

But more than half of Republican senators disagreed, voting for the education proposal offered by Democratic senator James Webb — and against McCain’s stated position.

Bill Foster is turning into a unique blend. He’s spot on for the 14th District. While it might be expected of those of us on the left to continuously bash Republicans, the fact is Denny Hastert represented his constituents well for a very long time. Bill Foster is following that lead: he’s legislating, not politicking. And it’s very refreshing to see that coming from Congress these days.

The Oberweis Reality Tour: Bush on Steroids

The way Jim Oberweis sees it, he just needs one more chance to explain himself to the voters. After a past unsuccessful bids for the United States Senate and Illinois governor, Jim simply feels he hasn’t had the chance to really tell the voters who he is. So, he’s going to try to explain himself again to the voters as he makes an attempt to unseat Congressman Bill Foster in the 14th Congressional District.

Before we take the “Oberweis Reality Tour” together, let’s first listen to Jim:

“The opportunity is there,” Oberweis said during a visit to The Courier News. “If we can explain to voters where we are on the issues … I believe I’ll win. I do believe my views represent the majority of views in the 14th District. But we didn’t do a very good job of communicating our views.”

Jim doesn’t want this fall’s campaign to turn ugly and negative. He wants to tell you who he really is.

“It became well-known that my opponent was going to portray me as a George Bush clone,” Oberweis said. “I didn’t think there was any way they could possibly do that. I was wrong.”

So, Oberweis was just misunderstood.

I don’t think so. The reality is, Jim Oberweis is George Bush on steroids, and the voters in the 14th Congressional District need to watch out.

Let’s start with Oberweis’ Final Solution on immigration: send back the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants immediately. Perhaps he’ll even throw in a carton of milk for the bus ride back. According to the ArchPundit:

Oberweis staked out the hardcore send back 12 million people immediately and no exceptions kind of policy and not only embraced the position, but embraced fairly radical anti-immigrant activist organizations.

Most amazing is that John McCain, long a reasonable voice on the immigration debate embraced Oberweis as McCain’s flip flop to the dark side of several issues continues.

Oberweis is a Board of Director for NumbersUSA which is one of the leading right wing anti-immigration groups.

He’s spoken at Illinois Minutemen meetings such as this one on May 6, 2006 mntmn017.wav

And despite railing on the businesses using undocumented workers, Oberweis Dairy never wondered why the company cleaning for them could afford to do the work they were doing. Turns out the contractor were paying below minimum wage for undocumented workers.

According to the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, two undocumented workers brought a complaint to the Illinois Department of Labor against Oberweis Dairies for violating Illinois and federal minimum wage laws and failing to fully pay its employees:

Meet Rosa Ramirez and Jorge Ibarra — two undocumented workers who live and work in northwest suburban Chicago. Rosa, who is 41, and Jorge, who is 34, were both hired on May 1, 2005 to clean three Oberweis Dairy stores. The stores are located at 9 East Dundee Road, Arlington Heights, 1405 Palatine Road, Hoffman Estates, and 30 South Roselle Road in Schaumburg.

In fact, according to the ICIRR, these workers were paid less than half of minimum wage to clean Oberweis’ Ice Cream Stores:

“Mr. Oberweis has exploited these workers twice,” says Joshua Hoyt, Executive Director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. “First he exploited them for cheap labor, and then he exploited them by demagoging their illegal status for cheap votes. We have asked that the Illinois Department of Labor conduct a full investigation into Mr. Oberweis’ employment practices. No one likes a hypocrite,” Hoyt continued, “and Mr. Oberweis’ hypocrisy just shows how our economy is powered by the labor of undocumented immigrants like Rosa and Jorge.”

So, we need to deport 12 million people, but, in the meantime, it’s okay to hire them to do our dirty work?

Who’s cleaning your toilets, Mr. Oberweis?

The Sun Also Rises: Foster Wins!

Fighting Donkey of the Young Democrats

Unofficial results from the Associated Press show Bill Foster defeating Jim Oberweis for Congress. The Chicago Tribune calls it a “stunning upset” — and they’re right:

In a stunning upset Saturday that could be a harbinger of trouble for the GOP this fall, a little-known Democratic physicist won the special election for a seat drawn to re-elect former Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

Bill Foster defeated Republican Jim Oberweis, who lost his fourth high-profile election in six years, following an expensive and highly negative contest.

Unbelievable, and yet totally cool.

Foster told his supporters he gives a lot of credit to the Young Democrats of Illinois for helping him secure this victory. Hats off to the entire YD organization in historically Republican Kendall County, which Foster won by 91 votes. The Young Democrats helped turn a huge page in the 14th Congressional District. Spectacular.

John Crawford and every Young Democrat in Kendall County deserve credit for this one.

With 100% of precincts reporting, The Chicago Sun-Times shows Foster beating Oberweis by six points: 53% to 47%. Six whole points send Mr. Foster to Washington.

Congratulations to all who had a hand in this victory.

Foster is good stuff, and the residents of the 14th Congressional District deserve solid representation. I have no doubt the good doctor will serve them well.