When Tinley Park Mayor Ed Zabrocki made the decision to endorse candidates in November's election, his criterion was straightforward.
"I look at what person is going to have the best potential to do the most for our community," Zabrocki, a Republican, said this week.
READ: Check Out the Bios and Backgrounds of the 2 Candidates in the 19th District
It's that guiding principle that led the mayor recently to cross party lines and back Democrat Michael Hastings in the 19th District State Senate race. Calling Hastings "a young, dynamic individual," Zabrocki said he thinks the candidate has the right skills to help the General Assembly solve the state's financial problems.
"That doesn't mean I think his opponent is a bad person," Zabrocki said of Republican candidate Edgar Montalvo, who has been endorsed by the Chicago Tribune. "I just think Mike would do a better job."
Zabrocki has known Hastings since 1996, when the U.S. Army veteran was a student at Andrew High School. The two met when Hastings volunteered to help fight flooding in the village, organizing members of the high school's football team to fill sandbags, Zabrocki said.
"He brings to the table a sense of community," Zabrocki states in a press release from Hastings campaign. "From serving in Iraq to volunteering on one of our local high school boards, he puts the sense of community in practice.”
Candidate endorsements are a relatively new practice for Zabrocki, who said he avoided doing until recently. But as the decisions in Springfield were having more of a negative effect on the village, Zabrocki changed his stance and has thrown his support behind candidates whose positions are aligned with the best interests of the village.
"I usually don't endorse people," he said. "I've gotten more involved in the last couple of years because of the state of the state."
PATCH ON POLITICS: State House Endorsements with a Chuckle and a Shake of the Head
Besides backing Hastings in this election, the mayor also has endorsed 1st Congressional District GOP candidate Don Peloquin and incumbent Will County Board President Jim Moustis.
Zabrocki's endorsement adds to the list of political officials in the district backing Hastings, including Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin, Orland Township Supervisor Paul O’Grady and Bremen Township Supervisor Maggie Crotty, who currently holds the 19th District seat but has decided not to run for another term.
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