In the 19th century, Illinois was the land of Lincoln. In the 20th, it was the birthplace of Ronald Reagan. In the 21st, Illinois has given us a new breed of Republican: Roger Eddy.
Mr. Eddy is what they call a downstater, an assemblyman who serves an east-central Illinois district hugging the Indiana border. His day job turns out to be in government as well, as a public schools superintendent.
Last week Mr. Eddy became the face of the Republican failure to get a voucher bill through the Illinois assembly. The bill had passed the Senate. Yet despite being pushed by a remarkable coalition involving fellow Republicans, a free-market state think tank, and a prominent African-American leader, only 25 Republicans in the House voted yes. That was 12 votes short. Mr. Eddy was one of 23 Republicans who killed it by voting no.
“Last week was a missed opportunity for children in Chicago’s worst and most overcrowded schools, and it was a missed opportunity for Republicans,” says Collin Hitt, who handles education issues for the Illinois Policy Institute. “It’s not often that a minority Republican party has the chance to advance cornerstone policy with key African-American support. The good news is that the legislation remains alive, and this bill has another chance.”