Chicago Pastor, Rev. Corey Brooks, Endorses Republican Candidate Jim Oberweis for Senate

Jim Oberweis, left, and Pastor Corey Brooks. (Abel Uribe, left, Scott Strazzante, Chicago Tribune)
Jim Oberweis, left, and Pastor Corey Brooks. (Abel Uribe, left, Scott Strazzante, Chicago Tribune)

A South Side pastor who is highly visible in Chicago’s black community endorsed Republican candidate Jim Oberweis on Thursday in his bid to unseat U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin.

The Rev. Corey Brooks, pastor of New Beginnings Church of Chicago, said some Democrats had taken the African-American vote for granted and that black voters shouldn’t rule out candidates simply because of their party affiliation.

Brooks, who is known as the “rooftop pastor” because he once slept for three months atop a shuttered motel to protest violence, cited Oberweis’ views on education and job creation as well the state senator’s visits to the South Side as reasons for his endorsement.

“Our community has suffered a lot under Democratic policies,” Brooks said, “and a lot of what we’re experiencing, some of those policies have been promoted by a large amount of Democrats.

“We need to consider options and we don’t need people to just automatically assume that because we have traditionally been raised Democrats, that our votes are always going to be there.”

Oberweis, a state senator from west suburban Sugar Grove, is the part-owner of a dairy and ice cream business and two investment firms that carry his name. Brooks said he believes job creation is key to stemming violence on the South Side, and said he was impressed with Oberweis’ experience in that area.

Brooks, who frequently serves as a family spokesman for crime victims, said he was raised a Democrat but is currently a political independent. The Park Manor neighborhood pastor said he disagrees with Oberweis on some issues, though he declined to cite them.

Brooks said he has never met Durbin, the Democratic incumbent who has been in the Senate since 1997. But the pastor said Oberweis has been a regular on the South Side, and that the two “have had very candid conversations.”

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Source: Chicago Tribune | Mitch Smith

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