17th District (southwest, west and northwest suburbs): Republican incumbent Elizabeth Doody Gorman has only a gentle challenge from Democrat Jim Hickey (no survey), who heads the Orland Fire Protection District. Hickey didn’t complete our election questionnaire, and we weren’t able to reach him.
We endorse Gorman with undying gratitude for her persistence in gradually killing the Stroger tax. And we applaud her work in making county government more active in three areas: her attention to animal protection issues (dogfighting remains alarmingly common), environmental concerns (flooding plagues many homeowners), and the need for expanded mental health services.
Gorman is the prime mover on an advisory referendum in which county voters will be asked whether Illinois should devote more funding to these services. One reason that’s important: Sheriff Tom Dart has written on our opinion pages that one-third of Cook County’s jail inmates suffer from serious mental illnesses; they rotate between the jail and the streets, receiving inadequate mental health treatment and running up criminal justice costs for taxpayers.