Chicagoland House Race: New Dems Versus Real Dems

Illinois’ 11th congressional district is one of those partisan gerrymanders that guarantees single-party rule. But this one wasn’t created by the GOP; the Illinois legislature is firmly in the hands of the Democratic Party and the Democrats drew the boundaries on IL-11, creating a D+9 district in an area that Republican House speaker Denny Hastert used to call home. West of Chicago, the district is 79.6% suburban and most of the people there are in blue collar, sales and service jobs. Almost half the population is white and the medium income in $68,154.

After 2 bruising election challenges by union carpenter John Laesch, Hastert was forced to resign or face certain defeat in 2008. (Laesch has remained active in union politics and is now campaign manager for Rachel Ventura in IL-11.) Conservative multimillionaire, Bill Foster beat GOP multimillionaire, crackpot and frequent candidate Jim Oberweis 57 to 43%. Foster self-funded about $2 million into his race and Oberweis put close to $4 million of his own in. Pretty disgusting! The following cycle the voters kicked Foster out and elected Randy Hultgren (R). Then came the new gerrymander and in 2012 Foster ran against Republican Judy Biggert and beat her convincingly, after dumping another half million of his own into the race.

Obama won the district both times with healthy margins and Hillary beat Trump 58.9% to 35.4%. It’s what you call a safe blue district. And not just safe, progressive. When given a chance to choose between Bernie and Hillary in the 2016 primary, IL-11 voters chose Bernie, 52.3% to 47.7%.

Foster joined the Wall Street-oriented New Dem caucus and earned an “F” from ProgressivePunch for his corporate-oriented voting record. After all these years in Congress his only two signature bills were naming post offices and he’s probably best known for joining the Republicans and 32 other corrupt conservative Dems to gut Dodd Frank’s consumer protections. He’s considerably to the right of his own constituents. Foster has refused to co-sponsor Pramila Jayapal’s Medicare-For-All bill, refused to co-sponsor AOC’s Green New Deal resolution, refused to co-sponsor Lloyd Doggett’s bill to lower the price of drugs… and he opposes impeachment:

So… the opposite of Blue America’s newest endorsee, Rachel Ventura, a progressive member of the Will County Board who has challenged Foster to debate all the issues that are most important to the people in the district.

In framing the primary for Will County voters recently, Rachel said that she recognizes the national significance of the race as the divide spreads wider between the progressive Democrats and the New Dem Coalition and their so-called “Problem Solvers” allies, two conservative caucuses that Foster belongs to:

“We are living through a tumultuous period of upheaval and crisis and I feel like our current representative is in a state of stasis,” she said. “It is just too much inaction on major issues like climate change, meaningful health care reform, wealth inequality, and campaign finance reforms. We the people deserve meaningful actions to address the crisis facing our generation and the next.”

Goal Thermometer If you’re with us about putting forward the kind of progressive agenda that both Bernie and Elizabeth are campaigning on, it is crucial we get rid of more dead wood from Congress like Bill Foster and replace them with Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Democrats from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party– like Rachel Ventura.

Foster has accomplished nothing in Congress and it’s hard to understand why he even wants to stay there. He opposes the tide of history and his time is up.

Please consider helping Rachel’s grassroots campaign by clicking on the Blue America 2020 congressional primary thermometer on the right and contributing what you can.

There are already too many members of Congress from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. If you want to see action on Climate Change, the Green New Deal, banning the sale of assault weapons, a fairer tax system that requires the richest Americans to pair their fair share, we all need to step up and do what we can to replace slugs like Foster with can-do progressives like Rachel Ventura.


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