Republicans score political points at suburban job fairs

July 23, 2012 (ADDISON, Ill.)

With a struggling economy, people are happy to get any help they can in finding work, but the idea of a job fair can seem a little different during an election year.

Persistent unemployment has made the job fair a politician's election-year favorite, especially for incumbent Congress members, who can get political mileage without dipping into their campaign funds.

"We have a hundred employers that are here today, and it's our hope to be able to match talent with talent," said U.S. Rep. Robert Dold, (R) Kenilworth.

The four Republicans who sponsored the Addison job fair insisted there was nothing political about helping nearly 2,000 job seekers find work. Incumbents Peter Roskam, Randy Hultgren, Joe Walsh and Bob Dold are permitted to use their taxpayer-supported office allowances for such events even during an election year.

"People are out of work and they're struggling, and we're doing what we can," Walsh said. "As Peter says, to match those people with jobs, that's it."

Attendees told ABC7 the sponsoring congressmen did score some political points.

"It will add to my respect for them. At least they're trying," said job seeker Wayne T. Hink.

"That gives me a much better opinion of them. I'm happy that they're doing this," said job seeker Donna Cavallaro.

Dold, a self-described moderate, held a separate fair in Wheeling. He said there was nothing political about his decision not to show up for the event he sponsored in Addison with his conservative colleagues.

"I thought it was important for this jobs fair that I be here at the jobs fair that I was sponsoring," said Dold.

Dold is in a tough re-election race in the Illinois 10th District. Its boundaries were redrawn last year to the benefit of Democratic challenger Brad Schneider who says Dold is too rightwing for the district.

"Dold continues to support the tea party agenda and opposes the best interests of the 10th District," said Schneider in a statement released Monday.

"Congressional Quarterly, GovTrax, The Washington Post all have ranked me as one of the most independent members of the United States Congress," said Dold. "We have broken with our party on key important issues when we think it's important."

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