Endorsement: Billingsley for Illinois House Dist. 49

The task facing two young Republicans hoping to unseat Democrat Maura Hirschauer as Illinois House District 49 representative has two components.

One is their differences on issues, which are minimal but important.

Aris Garcia, a 24-year-old business owner and HR manager for Avlon Industries from Streamwood, describes himself as “arch-conservative.” The term somewhat belies his experience as a COVID site manager for the Illinois Department of Public Health, a previous board member for the Des Plaines Friends of the Parks and service on his village’s Community Relations Commission, but it does reflect his staunch support for business interests, low taxation and limited government.

Hannah Billingsley, the 36-year-old CEO of her own MOD Lifewear clothing business from West Chicago, sees herself as a more moderate Republican, though she too speaks with depth and conviction on the need for fiscal discipline, strong, accountable schools and a criminal justice system that is both effective in reducing crime and fair.

It’s an interesting contrast for two smart, determined candidates. We tend toward Billingsley. While Garcia seems clearly correct that certain conservative voters will not come out in November for a candidate who doesn’t strictly share their values — and, just to be clear, it’s important to note that as a practical matter, Garcia is by no means a my-way-or-the-highway Republican —, it is also true that many Republicans have begun staying home or even shifting over to the Democratic side as they’ve felt their party drifting away from them.

On that score, Billingsley offers an interesting appeal. Moreover, her general openness and positive spirit suggest someone who could be effective in advancing Republican interests in a legislature that is sure to remain dominated by the other party. We find much to like about both candidates. Our endorsement goes to Billingsley.