That's right. A little more than a week ago, Republican State Senator Tom Rooney was at March For Our Lives in Schaumburg.
I’m not saying there weren’t a whole bunch of other wonderful things about the event.
Students organized the march. An estimated 600 people of all ages were there. Many carried clever yet meaningful signs. My personal favorite:
Dozens of cars and trucks honked their horns in solidarity as we walked along the sidewalk on Roselle Road. It was democracy in action, a beautiful sight to behold and be a part of.
All this, in spite of the frigid temperatures, the ugly, overcast skies and pesky winds that made their way right through puffy winter jackets.
But, kudos to Republican State Senator Tom Rooney of the 27th District, whose presence made it less us versus them, and more, hey, we're in this together.
I was amazed that a Republican showed up at all and thought it was very brave of him to do so. Not so much because of what Democrats would think. But because of possible repercussions from fellow Republicans.
Rooney was the only Republican who spoke to the crowd. I later called Rooney's office and asked about his appearance at the March. He generously invited me to sit down with him in his office, which, conveniently, was located just blocks from my home.
Rooney is not only a State Senator, he's a teacher at West Lyden High School in Northlake, where he teaches social studies, economics and U.S. history.
I asked him why he decided to speak at the event, and he told me a student at another school had reached out to him by email and asked him to come.
"As a a teacher," he said, "I felt is was a neat way for students to show interest and passion. In general, anything that drives kids to be politically active is a good thing."
Rooney was surprisingly open. I asked him what he thought about common sense gun reform.
He said, depending on what the specific reform is, he asks himself if "there is anything (anti) 2nd Amendment involved in it or not?" If there isn't, he would, most likely, support it by "default."
He voted in favor of a gun dealer licensing bill because many of his constituents wanted it. It passed the Senate and the House, but the governor vetoed it. It remains to be seen whether it goes any further.
He supported a lethal violence order of protection bill which would remove guns from the home of a mentally ill person if a judge deems that person is a danger to society. The bill passed the Senate and is still waiting for a vote in the House.
He co-sponsored a bump stock ban bill, but it hasn't moved. He voted "present" on the bill that passed because of what he considered to be a "bad faith amendment" added at the last minute. This bill is waiting for a vote by the House on whether or not to concur with the amendment.
He is not in favor of an Illinois gun registry, but said, "If they do it, it should be on a national level."
As a teacher (and a veteran), I thought he would have personal insight into the concept of arming teachers. I was right.
He said arming teachers "is almost completely ridiculous" and is not in favor for some "new freaking training program" for teachers.
He did add, however, he would consider the possibility of arming teachers if they are former police officers or military veterans.
I didn't expect to agree with Rooney on every issue. He is, after all, a Republican. If he was totally and completely into gun law reform, for example, he probably, well, wouldn't be a Republican, and, surely, he wouldn't have any support among his party members.
But I did leave having great respect for Senator Rooney.
If we had more government representatives like him--on both the Democrat side and the Republican side, representatives who are honest and aren't allergic to the word "compromise," maybe, just maybe, some positive things would get accomplished.
Thank you for reading this Opinionated Woman blog post. If you don't want to miss the next one, just type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.
Filed under: Uncategorized