With an impressive array of labor activists beside him, Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes urged a greater commitment Tuesday to the nation?s infrastructure and economy as he continued to formally launch his Democratic candidacy for the U.S. Senate.
Hynes, the son of a Chicago power broker, is in the third day of a four-day state tour to kick off his campaign.
He said the nation ought to pay as much attention to roads and bridges in the United States as it does infrastructure needs in Iraq.
With President Bush asking for $87 billion more for the war effort in Iraq, Hynes said the country ought to ?at least? match investments there with dollar-for-dollar commitments at home.
During his announcement at Crooners restaurant in Moline, Hynes also said Washington, D.C., has lost touch with the people. ?Most Americans are working more and taking home less, if they?re lucky enough to have a job,? he said.
Hynes is in the midst of a large field of candidates seeking the party?s nomination to replace the retiring U.S. Sen. Peter Fitzgerald, R-Ill. U.S. Rep. Lane Evans, D-Ill., an influential force in Illinois Quad-City area politics, has endorsed Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, D-Chicago, but Hynes can boast of strong labor support, which was in ample supply Tuesday.
The Tri-City Building Trades and Construction Council, with 9,000 Quad-City members, has endorsed him. Rory Washburn, the council?s executive director, said he believes labor is united behind Hynes. The AFL-CIO has not made a choice yet, however.
Hynes, who is leading the Democratic race in the polls, has been comptroller since 1998. He sought to make the case Tuesday that he already has a record of helping people across the state. He cited the creation of the state?s first ?rainy day? fund and his ensuring that contractors pay prevailing wages, a big issue with unions.
Hynes said he was not familiar with proposed Department of Defense changes to work rules that would affect 6,000 Arsenal Island workers, including union members. But he said the government needs to respect workers who work at all levels of government. Arsenal union employees are worried the rules will take away their local bargaining rights, among other changes.
Hynes, the son of Tom Hynes, the former Cook County assessor, emphasized his grandfather?s roots in 1920s Ireland. ?My grandparents lived during a time when government didn?t get out of your way, or in your way. Government helped you get on your way,? he said. To do that, he said, the government needs to invest in education, job creation and infrastructure.
Also among the announced candidates, or those contemplating a bid, are: Chicago millionaire Blair Hull, former Chicago Board of education president Gery Chico and Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas.
Ed Tibbetts can be contacted at (563) 383-2327 or email@example.com.
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