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November 2, 2004

A brief Introduction to your Chicago 2004 ballot

At 6 a.m. Tuesday, polling places will open throughout Hyde Park for registered Cook County voters, including University staff and students. Polls in the neighborhood should stay open until 7 p.m., and the locations can be found on voters' registration cards and at the website www.chicagoelections.com. Chicagoans will vote on one referendum and a great number of federal, state, and county candidates.

President/Vice President

John F. Kerry/John Edwards (Democrat): The Kerry campaign seeks to end dependence on foreign oil, involve the UN with Iraq, cut the deficit in half, roll back the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest tier, establish a National School Trust Fund to ensure public education funding, and promote environmental protection. Kerry supports a woman's right to an abortion and civil unions.

George W. Bush/Dick Cheney (Republican): The incumbent Bush/Cheney team plans to simplify the tax code, increase funding for high schools, allow workers to use social security payroll taxes to build up private retirement accounts, continue aggressively pursuing threats to American security, and appoint judges to the bench who are strict interpreters of the Constitution. In addition, Bush opposes abortion, homosexual marriage, and more taxes.

Michael Badnarik/Richard V. Campagna (Libertarian): Badnarik, a computer programmer, and Campagna, a former university instructor and lawyer, would bring all U.S. troops abroad home, work to abolish government regulations on business, permit more immigrants to enter the country, support gay marriage, and end the war on drugs.

U.S. Senate

Barack Obama (Democrat): Obama is a state senator from Hyde Park and lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School. He supports expanded pre-school programs, investing in alternative energy, a national health care plan that will cover every child, and the establishment of savings accounts in which families could store money and receive tax credits.

Alan Keyes (Republican): Keyes is a former ambassador and presidential candidate. He supports the Bush tax cuts, the war on terror as it is currently conducted, tort reform, and school vouchers. He is against abortion, gay marriage, and membership in the World Trade Organization.

Jerry Kohn (Libertarian): The former high school teacher, if elected, would work to abolish the federal income tax, end all trade-related tariffs and subsidies, and bring back the gold standard. He believes U.S. troops abroad should be recalled to American soil.

Albert J. Franzen (Independent): Franzen is a former International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 336 union officer and Army veteran. He advocates putting a stop to frivolous lawsuits, a national single payer health insurance plan, reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil, transferring authority in Iraq to the UN, and mandatory "pay as you go" federal budget rules. He opposes Bush's guest-worker plan, the current level of student visas granted to citizens of other countries, and America's presence overseas.

U.S. Representative - 1st District

Bobby L. Rush (Democrat): The incumbent since 1992, he is a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. A former Black Panther and pastor, Rush has passed legislation dealing with vermin control, community banking, and has brought nearly $2 million to the 1st District from Congress.

Raymond G. Wardingley (Republican): The former entertainer and area Neighborhood Watch director seeks to lower prescription drug costs, create more holidays recognizing prominent African-Americans, and prevent illegal aliens from gaining amnesty. He supports President Bush's efforts in the war on terror.

Illinois State Representative - 25th District

Barbara Flynn Currie (Democrat): Currie is unopposed in the 25th District, which she has served since 1979. She serves as the House majority leader and is a graduate of the University of Chicago. In the past, she has sponsored legislation to establish the earned income tax credit, fund distressed hospitals, fight sexual harassment, and to extend the kindergarten day.

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioners (MWRD) (Vote for 3)

Patricia Young (Democrat): Young, the incumbent, has held office since 1992 and seeks to prevent unnecessary financial burdens on taxpayers.

Barbara McGowan (Democrat): McGowan has held office in the MWRD since 1998. Before being a Commissioner, she served as assistant to late Commissioner Joseph E. Gardner. She feels the MWRD should work to form relationships local organizations, groups, and developers to determine the need for waterfront development.

Gloria Alitto Majewski (Democrat): Majewski has been a Commissioner since 1984. She actively visits treatment plants and talks to community organizations to assess local need.

John Michael O'Sullivan (Republican): Sullivan is a Union Laborer for Cook County. He supports creating single-member districts to elect Commissioners for specific areas rather than at-large as is currently done.

Michael Conroy (Republican): No information available.

Fabian Villarreal (Republican): No information available.

State's Attorney of Cook County

Richard A. Devine (Democrat): As the current officeholder, Devine was elected in 1986. He has previously served as an assistant to former Mayor Richard J. Daly. Devine touts the creation of a juvenile justice bureau, work to combat violence against women, and an emphasis on large-scale drug dealers rather than small-time users as personal successes.

Phillip Spiwak (Republican): A Chicago lawyer who did not actively pursue his campaign.

Cook County Recorder of Deeds

Eugene "Gene" Moore (Democrat): Before he was the incumbent Recorder of Deed, Moore was a state representative. As Recorder, he has worked to convert county documents to digital files. In the future, Moore plans to promotes public access to documents and wishes to make all records available online.

John H. Cox (Republican): Cox believes the issue of gay marriage should be left to the states, opposes the death penalty on religious grounds, and favors affirmative action only in cases of economic need.

Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County

Dorothy A. Brown (Democrat): Brown, the incumbent, proposes that new technology be used to improve the workings of her office. Before his election, Brown worked as an accountant and general auditor for the CTA. She has been accused of collecting a quarter-million dollars from her employees.

Judith A. Kleiderman (Republican): Formerly a member of a zoning board of appeals, Kleiderman worked as a counselor and funeral specialist. In addition, she is the founder of a pet accessory company.

Commissioner of the Board of Review - 3rd District

Larry R. Rogers, Jr. (Democrat): Rogers, an attorney with an endorsement from Jesse Jackson, is running unopposed to lead the county board that evaluates assessments. Also, Rogers is the president of the Cook County Bar Association.

Judges - Circuit and Appellate Court

In this election, 80 judgeships are up for review. Almost all of these ballot items are simply judges up for retention, with a "yes" or "no" option. Only one contested circuit judgeship appears on the Ward 5 ballot. 60 percent of the vote is required for a judge to remain on the bench.

Michelle Jordan (Democrat): Jordan has worked as an assistant prosecutor and an assistant attorney general for environmental law. She has also been a deputy regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency. She has been designated "Well Qualified" by the Chicago Council of Lawyers.

John Joseph Coyne (Republican): Coyne opted not to participate in the Chicago Council of Lawyers evaluation and subsequently did not receive its recommendation.