The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
by db Conard, The Quill
Last Monday evening in a drizzling downpour, cars lined the streets of the little patriotic town of Raritan around the historic Raritan Opera House.
The heartbeat of American politics was alive and well in small town USA as citizens gathered at the third town meeting of the day in Henderson County, to discuss concerns and ask questions of Republican candidate Bobby Schilling of the Quad Cities, about the state of the district, and the nation.
There was a good turnout of citizens for this Grass Roots effort by local organizers Diane Lozar outside Terre Haute and Jens Notestein of Stronghurst who set up meetings at Stronghurst, Media, and at Raritan to have citizens meet this new candidate for congress who is running unopposed on the Republican Primary ticket in February 2010.
Bobby Schilling was in Raritan after a very long day of visiting the other communities of what he hoped would be the constituents he would represent come election day next November when he faces Democrat incumbent Phil Hare of Rock Island.
Hundreds of miles of driving day after day for the next year will give Schilling a chance to really see the lives of the people he hopes to represent. Supporters say, if every town turns out as well as Raritan there is a good chance of finding Schilling as the best choice for these local folks to receive their representation in Congress.
After a strong unison pledge of allegance to the American flag, a welcome by Notestein and introduction and deep concerns by Lozar, Schilling took the stage.
Bobby delivered, not a polished bunch of "bla, bla, bla" but expressed himself as a man sincere in his desire to serve. He said he would refuse to accept a full pension which is now given to those who serve a mere 5 years. He said this is not about him getting a job, but about him serving his country. He will then return to his family pizza business which is being run by his older children while he spends time away to offer his service.
Schilling and his wife have 9 children and a tenth on the way. His oldest son, a political major in college, helps him with his campaign.
Their family's small pizza business is in Moline and one will find Schilling's menus have Bible scripture printed in between items which reflect the values he has raised his children by and that he was raised by as well.
In contrast, Schilling has also worked 13 years in a union job, seeing the value of both, but says it shouldn't be forced down your throat, but left up to each business owner.
Schilling described the lack of jobs in Illinois and told of one man he knew who had built a car and wanted to start a business that would have meant 200 new jobs here. He applied for help with Congressman Hare, he said, and the third question was asking if he was going to unionize. He answered no and he never received the help. That meant the jobs went to other states. Schilling says as far as he is concerned, that question should not even be on the list of things to ask. It should be left up to the business after it is formed if they want to unionize or not.
Mr. Schilling is a Conservative Republican. He makes no bones about his stand on term limits, his passion over ridiculous retirement and medical programs that seem to be self serving abuses of power, gun control, increasing taxes, Medicare, national debt, foreign policy and in all issues of importance, Schilling came across as knowledgeable and offered suggestions for common sense solutions.
In our household, he said, there are needs and wants, and you spend your money on the needs first and if you don't have the money, you don't spend it on the wants. Government should be run the same way, he said.
Schilling also felt leaders should be men of integrity and like his father told him often, should lead by example.
The citizens who gathered in Raritan, all had a common thread of concern for the future of their country, and Schilling seemed to be one of them and he really listened, and always gave a thoughtful response in every instance.
Schilling wasn't offering a checklist of political opinions that he had researched and felt the community was looking for, but those in attendance found that he was passionate and capable of standing as the tip of the sword when serving the future of real lives and communities, and not just words.
Can he be effective, honest, a champion instead of a clerk if elected? Bobby Schilling seems to think he can. His large grassroots effort in Moline and Rock Island thinks he can and those in Raritan Monday evening asked what they could do to help. It is a grassroots that is spreading as he travels the 17th District, his campaign manager from Geneseo said.
Schilling immulates a man who puts value in the word "commitment" by the way he and his entire family support each other. It is something to take note of in today's world. That's a lot of people right at home to be responsible for to bring no shame to.
The Grass Roots organizers here in Hancock-Henderson Counties are taking pride in Schilling as their conservative leader "committed to bringing back what the founding fathers originally meant when they penned the U.S. Constitution, Lozar said,.
Lozar feels called to first serve his God, then service to his family, his community, and his Country and to do it in a way that will keep us all safe, healthy and preserve the freedoms and values we hold most dear.