Among six Republicans vying for primary nomination in the 8th CD, Long Grove Village President Maria Rodriguez is the only woman, the only elected official and the only candidate in the race endorsed today by the Illinois Federation for Right to Life.
Rodriguez told Illinois Review she's honored to receive IFRL's support and points to her strong Catholic background as a key reason she holds such strong pro-life positions. "I'm not prolife because it's a political issue," she said via phone. "I've worked for St. Mary's Catholic Church in the liturgy, and my respect for human life is tied to my religious beliefs. I'm prolife, with no exceptions."
Rodriguez said her respect for the unborn has caused her to be concerned about the current health care debate, as the taxpayer funding of abortion emerges as one of the most controversial. Adamant pro-abortion adovcates insist abortion be accessible to all, and that requires taxpayers to pick up the tab for the uninsured and those below poverty levels.
But Rodriguez said the abortion issue is just part of her concern about Nancy Pelosi's health care plan.
"We need to be concerned about both ends of life -- both the beginning and the end. When the Democrats pass legislation that cuts Medicare funding by half a trillion dollars just as more and more seniors approach the time when they'll need expensive medical care, anyone that respects life should be concerned," Rodriguez said. "The Democrats' health care plan will affect senior citizens, the disabled and the unborn, as well."
The health care issue is just one reason why Rodriguez got in the 8th CD race.
"I watched the growing number of people upset about the way things were going, saw frustrated voters at town hall meetings, and decided we needed to do what we could to help. It was unbelievable how Melissa Bean ignored her own constituents and refused to listen to their concerns," she said. "And it's been upsetting to see her vote just as Nancy Pelosi tells her to vote."
Rodriguez talked to her husband of 29 years and three grown children (ages 26, 24 and 22 yrs) about running against Democrat Bean, and they encouraged her to move to get in the race.
Bean isn't the first incumbent I've taken on," Rodriguez said. "When I ran for village president, the local media endorsed the incumbent and local businessmen were intimidated about putting up my signs. I still won with a 60-40 vote."
Bean has been a member of the U.S. Congress since she defeated former Congressman Phil Crane in 2004.
"For me, serving in Congress is about public service," Rodriguez said. "For Melissa Bean and her voting record, it's fairly clear it's all about continuing her career in marketing."
Bean has also continually voted against protecting human life during her tenure in the House. She was backed by National Abortion Rights Action League for her support of abortion rights, and Bean's support and Rodriguez' opposition to abortion draw a line of clear contrast in the 8th CD race.
But first Rodriguez must win among the other five Republicans on February 2, 2009. Several of her opponents also register pro-life positions, so Rodriguez' sole endorsement by IFRL was especially important to social conservatives in the 8th CD.
Illinois Right to Life endorsement wrote of Ms. Rodriguez:
We are pleased to announce our endorsement of Maria Rodriguez for nomination as Republican Candidate for the Eighth Congressional District. Not only has Ms. Rodriguez expressed a desire to protect unborn children, but she has also indicated her support for the disabled as well as those who are endangered at the end of life.
The five other Republicans in the 8th CD are Christopher Geissler, Joe Walsh, John Dawson, Dirk Beveridge and Greg Jacobs.