I like to think that I work hard on the other six days of the week and take Sunday nice and easy, get some things down around the apartment, spend some quality time with my partner, but today I went out and volunteered.

As everyone knows, former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert finally announced his resignation from Congress, setting the stage for a special election on top of the general election for the 14th Congressional District in Illinois. President Bush won the district by 11 points, so while it is a difficult one to possibly win, it is vital to compete with a credible Democratic candidate.

This district has a special place in my heart as I spent 12 of my first 18 years living in the district, attending junior high and high school near Ronald Reagan’s hometown of Dixon.

With the ensuing special election candidates must gather a whole new set of petitions for the runoff.  So all of the hard work that campaigns and volunteers did for two months must be done all over again.  Most likely the primary for the special election will take place on February 5th, the same day as Illinois General election primary.  This leaves little time to gather nearly 1,000 valid signatures.

Thus I spent my Sunday devoting my free time to a candidate that I believe can turn Hastert’s seat blue.  Just so you know, it was Bill Foster, but more on that later.

I woke up nice and early and drove to Lee County from Chicago.  I went to friends and families’ homes in my old home town.  The great thing was that my mother joined me.  We spent just over and hour and collected a dozen signatures from my aunts, uncles, and few family friends.

Afterwards, I joined up with the campaign in Geneva, got assigned a precinct with another volunteer and headed out.  The precinct that we walked was a nice cookie cutter subdivision with large homes and three car garages.  This is the far west suburbs here, lots of Republicans.  In fact the Mayor of Geneva is Kevin Burns, who is running for the Republican nomination.  Needless to say, we ran into quite a few people who would not sign because they support Burns.  But we moved on, dedicated to helping a Democrat, a good one in my opinion, get on the ballot.

At best the temperature was at the upper thirties, with a nice steady mist coming down and the occasional quick downpour.  But we kept at it, with some good success.

And the reason we kept going was because of what I believe Bill Foster can do in Congress.  First and foremost he wants to help end the war in Iraq by bringing our troops home.  He also wants to curb our dependence on foreign oil with renewable energy and looking at raising CAFE standards and much more.  These are two issues that I care deeply about and I am glad to see that someone is paying attention to them in a red district.

But to add fuel to the fire, the two leading Republican candidates Jim Oberweis and Chris Lauzen do not even speak about the war in Iraq.  In both of their issues pages (Oberweis and Lauzen) on their respective websites they leave it out. Only Kevin Burns includes it with this:

I share the level and depth of frustration expressed by most Americans concerning the execution of the Iraq War. Adding to the frustration is the fact that the debate in Washington appears centered on partisanship rather than working toward a consensus for a solution in Iraq and a strategy to fight the terrorists.

I support the recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study group which calls for US troops remaining in Iraq and the region to serve as supply and training forces for the Iraqi army and to help target terrorist cells. America must insist that the Iraqi people do more to defend their own land and determine their own future. We must also call upon Iraq’s neighbors to provide resources and assistance.

America must maintain a flexible military able to stand up to threats both internal and external, respond to aggression in any form and be prepared to come to the aid of our allies in a moment’s notice.

Is this what the 14th district is willing to elect… gosh I hope not because it is simply unacceptable to ignore or gloss over some of the most pressing issues facing our country… that’s why I spent my free Sunday to go out and volunteer for Bill Foster.