By CARL GREEN
East Alton, IL – Jonathan Forbes, the first announced Democratic candidate in the Illinois House district that includes Alton and much of Madison County visited the Greater Madison County Federation of Labor recently.
Forbes, an attorney with the Gori Julian asbestos and mesothelioma firm, is seeking the 111th District Democratic nomination to replace veteran Democratic legislator Dan Beiser, who is not running for re-election.
A recipient of the Madison County Friend of Labor Award in 2006, Forbes has worked on asbestos, benzene and personal injury cases, drafted legislation that became Illinois laws to protect children from drug dealers and help rape and burn victims, and has served on the Illinois Foster Parent Association board.
If Forbes gets the nomination, he is likely to face Mike Babcock, a Republican who ran a strong challenge to Beiser last year and has said he will run again.
Forbes told the Federation members they can count on him to stand with workers.
“You guys all know me,” he said. “One hundred percent, I’m going to be with Labor.
“I’m a Labor person who’s a Democrat, not a Democrat who’s a Labor person. I’m about as far away from Nancy Pelosi as you can get,” he said referring to the U.S. House Minority leader, who some have accused of giving lip service but little actual support to working-class Americans.
Forbes has been active with the Federation and has led charity collections and distributions in the Metro-East.
He said his pro-gun and anti-abortion positions reflect the opinions of district residents.
“Not only am I pro-gun, I have a problem with a lot of the gun laws we have now that are too restrictive,” he said. “I’m pro-life, you all know that and it’s no secret, and the third thing is, I’m 100 percent pro-Labor.
“I don’t care who comes to me, or what they say, I’ll be there,” he added. “I oppose ‘right-to-work,’ I’ll support prevailing wage and, obviously, every other issue you’ve got.”
A STREET FIGHT
Even with his aisle-crossing positions, Forbes said he expects next year’s campaign to be hard-fought.
“This is going to be a street fight with Mike Babcock – he almost beat Dan Beiser,” Forbes told the Federation. “I will appeal to a lot of Trump voters. I won’t appeal to any Rauner voters, but I will appeal to Trump voters. Trump won this district big. A lot of those are Democrats, and we need those people back home.
“I’ll be with you,” he added. “If you need anything, let me know. If you oppose me, I’ll still be with you. I’m with unions for one reason – not to get your support, not to get anything else, but because I believe in what you do. This is where my heart is and I’ll be with you, no matter what.”
The 11th District runs from Elsah to a section of Granite City on the Mississippi River and includes all or parts of Alton, Bethalto, Cottage Hills, East Alton, Godfrey, Hartford, Holiday Shores, Meadowbrook, Mitchell, Moro, Pontoon Beach, Roxana, Rosewood Heights, South Roxana and Wood River.