This article was originally posted at IllinoisFamilyAction.org.
A few months ago state Representative Tom Cross (R-Oswego) gave up his post as chairman of the state house GOP caucus in order to run for State Treasurer. During Cross’ eleven years as leader of the house Republicans the state of Illinois became deeper in debt, lost hundreds of thousands of jobs and saw a huge increase in joblessness, experienced a decrease in the state’s credit rating — and that’s just the start of what could be a very long list.
Is a caucus leader responsible for every bad piece of legislation that passes? No, but they should be held accountable for the over-all condition of the state during their tenure in power.
In early 2005, during a veto session, the Democrats, along with the help of key liberal Republicans, added the faux category of “sexual orientation” to the state’s human rights act. You can read about why we shouldn’t even use the phrase sexual orientation in post from IFI’s Laurie Higgins (click here). Unfortunately that was lost on Republicans like Tom Cross. The idea of adding it as a protected class in state statute is ludicrous — yet, because of poor GOP leadership it’s now the law in Illinois.
How many of the planks of the Republican Party Platform were advanced since 2002? This writer can’t think of a single one. On the other hand it’s easy to recall when success was possible despite the GOP’s decade-long status as a minority in General Assembly. When an important school choice bill that had bi-partisan support was up for a vote a few years ago it was Republican votes in the state house that doomed it. A good caucus leader committed to GOP principles would have and should have been able to help get that bill passed.
How many more Republicans were elected during Tom Cross’ time as leader? The answer to this question is as bad as any when it comes to measuring the success/failure rate of Cross’ leadership. When he took over, the state house caucus had 51 members to the Democrats’ 66. After a decade with Cross at the helm, house Republicans were down to 47 members, giving the Democrats a super-majority with a “veto-proof” margin.
By any standard of measurement that’s an enormous failure. After ten years of being charged with the job of advancing the many good ideas Republicans represent, the state is worse off than it was in 2002. Instead of GOP principles gaining ground due to the effective work of elected leaders, ground was lost.
And now Tom Cross wants a promotion — to be State Treasurer. He was an abject failure as state house caucus leader and now he wants a bigger office and more money from taxpayers. By the way, because of how the state pension system works — just one term as Treasurer would do wonders for the size of his pension.
So let us turn to Cross’ vote for the so-called “homosexual” marriage bill. Tom Cross might not understand the purpose of marriage, but the consequences of redefining it will be felt by all, especially the children that call Illinois home. With just a little work Cross could have learned what is happening in other states where so-called homosexual “marriage” is now legal, such as in Massachusetts.
Cross had plenty of time to learn about why marriage shouldn’t be tampered with. All he had to do was spend some time at the Illinois Family Institute’s website. You might find it interesting that in the weeks leading up to the vote Cross’ staff claimed he opposed the bill to create genderless marriage.
After Tom Cross voted against natural marriage and the GOP platform the Southtown Star newspaper ran this:
State Rep. Tom Cross, R-Oswego, a candidate for state treasurer, is undoubtedly hoping that the issue fades quickly, at least in the run-up to the March primary election. Cross voted “yes,” even though a spokesman recently told the Chicago Sun-Times that he opposed the gay marriage bill. But it’s been known for weeks that Cross was struggling with the issue, both on philosophical and political levels.
He was struggling with the issue? I guess that shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Tom Cross’ political career is defined by struggle. He never figured out how to be effective in the fight to keep Illinois from going bankrupt. He never learned how to advance GOP principles so his party could gain seats and regain legislative majorities.
So it’s not surprising that he should lack understanding about how redefining marriage is going to have widespread negative legal, social and economic consequences for the place where he wants to now hold state-wide office.
There’s more to say about state representative Tom Cross — but the short of it is that his party should not nominate him and voters should reject his candidacy for State Treasurer.