WBEZ | U.S. House http://www.wbez.org/tags/us-house Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Foster glides past Biggert after race that looked tight http://www.wbez.org/news/foster-glides-past-biggert-after-race-looked-tight-103708 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/foster_smal_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><div><p>Defying opinion polls that depicted a neck-and-neck contest, Democrat Bill Foster easily defeated Republican U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert in the 11th Congressional District on Tuesday. With nearly all precincts reporting, Foster had almost 58 percent of the vote; Biggert had 42 percent.</p><p>In his victory speech, Foster expressed misgivings about the race&rsquo;s negative television advertising, a months-long barrage funded by campaign contributions and outside spending totaling roughly $14 million. &ldquo;I sense that both Congresswoman Biggert and myself were forced into an increasingly ugly world of politics today &mdash; a world that we were both deeply uncomfortable with,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Biggert, a seven-term House member, appeared to blame her loss on congressional redistricting controlled by Illinois Democrats. &ldquo;This race wasn&rsquo;t supposed to happen,&rdquo; she told supporters in her concession speech. &ldquo;They thought that I would shy away from a tough race in a district tailor-made for my opponent, and they were wrong.&rdquo;</p><p>Other factors contributing to Biggert&rsquo;s defeat included strong Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts and growing Latino numbers in Chicago&rsquo;s suburbs. In the 11th District &mdash; which includes parts of Aurora, Naperville, Bolingbrook and Joliet &mdash; Hispanics constitute 22 percent of the population. Foster rallied them by pointing to Biggert&rsquo;s&nbsp;vote against the DREAM Act, a stalled bill that would have provided many young undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship.</p><p>Despite a bitter tone through much of the race, the candidates claimed to be moderate and eager to work across party lines. And they did not stand far apart on some hot-button issues. Both, for example, warmed up to legal recognition of same-sex marriage and avoided weighing in on whether Joliet should pursue a privately run detention center that would hold immigrants awaiting deportation.</p><p>On other issues, particularly economic matters, the candidates showed greater differences. Foster blasted Biggert&rsquo;s vote for a budget plan that would slash spending and overhaul Medicare, providing government subsidies to individuals who chose to buy private insurance.</p><p>On Social Security, Biggert backed enabling individuals to invest a portion of their contributions in the stock market &mdash; a proposal Foster called too risky. On health policy, Foster touted his vote for President Barack Obama&rsquo;s Affordable Care Act, a law Biggert characterized as a jobs killer and sought to repeal. On taxes, Biggert supported extending all of President George W. Bush&rsquo;s cuts, while Foster called for allowing them to expire for incomes above $250,000.</p><div><p>The election marks a comeback for Foster, 55, who served almost three years in a nearby House district. Republican Randy Hultren unseated Foster in a 2010 election that swept the GOP into control of the House.</p><p>As the Republicans retain their majority, Foster is vowing to work with them by focusing on, as he puts it, &ldquo;numbers instead of political positions.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;We have to make sure that government investments are as cost-effective and highest-return as possible,&rdquo; he told WBEZ late Tuesday. &ldquo;And that&rsquo;s something that Democrats and Republicans agree on.&rdquo;</p><p>Foster said bipartisan points of unity could include cutting &ldquo;military systems the Pentagon doesn&rsquo;t want&rdquo; and encouraging a rebirth of domestic manufacturing. &ldquo;One of the best things about the ongoing recovery is that U.S. manufacturing is leading that,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Foster also had a prediction about the election results. He said they would end acrimonious debates about Obamacare and financial reregulation.</p></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 00:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/foster-glides-past-biggert-after-race-looked-tight-103708 Biggert, Foster turn to big names to drum up votes in tight House race http://www.wbez.org/news/biggert-foster-turn-big-names-drum-votes-tight-house-race-103671 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Judy Biggert AP cropped.jpg" alt="" /><p><div>After a firestorm of negative television advertising in their tight Illinois congressional race, Republican U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert and Democrat Bill Foster are trying to get their supporters to the polls using a few bells and whistles.<br><br>Foster, a former one-term U.S. House member, started robocalls Monday to potential voters in the suburban Chicago district using the voice of former President Bill Clinton, who said the candidate&rsquo;s experience in science and business provided &ldquo;the kind of common-sense experience and leadership we need in Washington.&rdquo;<br><br>Biggert, a seven-term House member, came up with an attention grabber of her own. In a YouTube video, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk praised her as &ldquo;one of the ultimate suburban moms who should be representing us in the Congress next year.&rdquo; Kirk, the state&rsquo;s top Republican, has kept a low profile since suffering a stroke in January.<p>&nbsp;</p>The uplifting words from Clinton and Kirk stood out after months of mind-numbing accusations and counteraccusations in the TV ads. The money behind those ads flowed in as polls suggested the 11th District contest was one of the closest House races in the country. By October 17, according to their latest federal filings, the Biggert and Foster campaigns had raked in more than $2.5 million each.<p>&nbsp;</p>And that&rsquo;s just the beginning. The race attracted more than $8 million in outside money, according to the Federal Election Commission. Figures from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics last month showed Biggert&rsquo;s campaign with an edge in that spending.<p>&nbsp;</p>On Friday, Foster resorted to lending his campaign $500,000. The money paid for his final TV ad, according to Foster campaign aide Aviva Bowen. &ldquo;We have to keep pace with the millions that [Biggert], her allies and the rightwing super-PACs have put up in false claims on TV,&rdquo; Bowen said.<p>&nbsp;</p>Biggert&rsquo;s team saw the loan differently. &ldquo;Congressman Foster is clearly desperate and terrified that Illinois voters are about to reject him and his dishonest smear campaigns once again,&rdquo; Biggert spokesman Gill Stevens wrote.<p>&nbsp;</p>On Monday, the candidates made a flurry of stops across the barbell-shaped district, which includes parts of Aurora, Naperville, Bolingbrook, Joliet and other suburbs west and southwest of Chicago. Foster&rsquo;s campaign said U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Maryland) was joining him on afternoon visits to sites set up for campaign volunteers. A Biggert aide said the Republican would attend a Joliet dinner hosted by the local chamber of commerce.<p>&nbsp;</p>Amid the combative TV ads, both candidates claimed to be moderate and eager to work across party lines. And they did not stand far apart on some hot-button issues. Both, for example, warmed up to legal recognition of same-sex marriage and avoided weighing in on whether Joliet should pursue a privately run detention center that would hold immigrants awaiting deportation.<p>&nbsp;</p>On other issues, particularly economic matters, the candidates showed greater differences. Foster blasted Biggert&rsquo;s vote for a budget plan that would slash spending and overhaul Medicare, providing government subsidies to individuals who choose to buy private insurance.<p>&nbsp;</p>On Social Security, Biggert backed enabling individuals to invest a portion of their contributions in the stock market &mdash; a proposal Foster called too risky. On health policy, Foster touted his vote for President Barack Obama&rsquo;s Affordable Care Act, a law Biggert characterized as a jobs killer and sought to repeal. On taxes, Biggert supported extending all of President George W. Bush&rsquo;s cuts, while Foster called for allowing them to expire for incomes above $250,000.<p></p>Both Biggert and Foster said they were trying to protect the middle class but neither seemed to have a personal stake in reversing the economic squeeze of recent decades.</p><p>&nbsp;</p>Biggert, 75, lives in Hinsdale and grew up in Wilmette, a suburb north of Chicago. Her father was a Walgreen Co. executive who headed the drugstore chain in the 1960s. She received a Northwestern University law degree and clerked for a federal judge. In politics, she began on a Hinsdale school board and made it to the U.S. House.<p>&nbsp;</p>Foster, 55, and his brother launched a theater lighting business that made them rich. Foster, a Harvard-educated physicist, also spent more than 20 years at the U.S. Department of Energy&rsquo;s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Batavia, a suburb west of Chicago.<p>&nbsp;</p><div>Foster won a 2008 special election to replace retiring Republican U.S. Rep. Dennis Hastert, a former longtime House speaker. The Democrat served just one full term before Randy Hultgren, a Republican state senator, unseated him in 2010. Foster moved to a Naperville section included in the 11th, a new congressional district with borders drawn by state Democrats after the 2010 census.</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 05 Nov 2012 15:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/biggert-foster-turn-big-names-drum-votes-tight-house-race-103671 Biggert, Foster sidestep immigrant detention-center project http://www.wbez.org/news/biggert-foster-sidestep-joliet-immigrant-detention-center-project-103508 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Elisa_Chombo_CROP.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: left; height: 360px; width: 250px; " title="Elisa Chombo of Joliet signs a petition against the detention center at a Monday night forum. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" />U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert and her Democratic challenger, Bill Foster, are locking horns in one of the nation&rsquo;s most competitive House races, but both are trying to sidestep a brewing controversy over something President Barack Obama&rsquo;s administration is talking about bringing to the district: a privately run immigrant detention center.</p><p>The project came to light last week when an official of Joliet, a city 40 miles southwest of Chicago, said he had had talks with federal officials and Tennessee-based Corrections Corporation of America. The Joliet official, City Manager Thomas Thanas, said the detention center could generate hundreds of jobs and city revenue.</p><p>The project is not going over well with Latino groups that organized a candidate forum Monday night at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a Joliet church. The forum&rsquo;s moderator tried to ask the 11th Congressional District candidates whether they would help fight the project.</p><p>The response from Foster, a former U.S. representative, elicited nods from the roughly 200 audience members at points. &ldquo;For-profit incarceration is something that I am personally quite leery of,&rdquo; Foster said. &ldquo;We have an immigration system that depends way too heavily on incarceration and deportation.&rdquo;</p><p>But Foster said it was too early for him to make a decision about the detention center. &ldquo;I want to see the details of it,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;So the answer is, I&rsquo;m waiting and seeing.&rdquo;</p><p>Biggert, the race&rsquo;s Republican, did not attend the forum. She sent a spokesman, who read a campaign statement that did not answer the moderator&rsquo;s question. &ldquo;Congresswoman Biggert would strongly oppose the federal government coming in and mandating what Joliet should or should not do,&rdquo; the spokesman told the crowd. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s really, ultimately, Joliet&rsquo;s decision.&rdquo;</p><p>Hours before the forum, WBEZ asked the Biggert campaign whether she would back a privately built and operated immigrant detention center in the district. The campaign sent the statement and did not answer the question.</p><p>Joliet&rsquo;s project follows a setback for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and CCA in south suburban Crete, where the agency wanted the company to build and run the detention center.</p><p>A political tide against the Crete project rose in January, when rivals in the area&rsquo;s Democratic House primary &mdash; U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and his challenger, former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson &mdash; both sided against it. Village trustees rejected the plan in June.</p></p> Tue, 30 Oct 2012 02:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/biggert-foster-sidestep-joliet-immigrant-detention-center-project-103508 Illinois loses U.S. House seat in new census http://www.wbez.org/story/illiinois-loses-us-house-seat-new-census <p><p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:PunctuationKerning /> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas /> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables /> <w:SnapToGridInCell /> <w:WrapTextWithPunct /> <w:UseAsianBreakRules /> <w:DontGrowAutofit /> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="156"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if !mso]><object classid="clsid:38481807-CA0E-42D2-BF39-B33AF135CC4D" id=ieooui></object> <style> st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } </style> <![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]-->As predicted, Illinois will lose a seat in the U.S. House. U.S. Census officials released population numbers today. Illinois&rsquo; population grew 3 percent to 12.8 million people. But that wasn&rsquo;t enough to hold on to its 19 seats.<span style="">&nbsp; </span><span style="">&nbsp;</span></p> <p>The 435 seats in the U.S. House are split up among the states every ten years using Census data. Illinois will now have 18 House seats.<span style="">&nbsp; </span></p> <p>The Midwest overall grew by 3.9 percent.<span style="">&nbsp; </span>But the South saw much great population growth&mdash;a 14.3 percent increase from the year 2000 to 2010. Texas, for instance, will add four House seats. <span style="">&nbsp;</span></p> <p>Illinois has lost legislative seats in each of the last four cycles.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 21 Dec 2010 16:48:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/illiinois-loses-us-house-seat-new-census DREAM Act backers at odds over how to pass it http://www.wbez.org/story/adalberto-united-methodist-church/dream-act-backers-odds-over-how-pass-it <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Dreamers3.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., wants the DREAM Act signed into law by year&rsquo;s end. But supporters disagree on how to advance the measure.<br /><br />The bill, passed by the U.S. House last week, would lay a path to citizenship for some undocumented youths who grew up in this country and attend college or join the military.<br /><br />Getting it through the Senate would depend on Republicans so the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is urging calls and letters to the state&rsquo;s Republican senator, Mark Kirk.<br /><br />But some DREAM Act supporters call that effort a waste of time. &ldquo;Kirk is not going to do anything independently of the Republican Party,&rdquo; said immigrant-rights activist Rev. Walter Coleman, pastor of Adalberto United Methodist, a church in Chicago&rsquo;s Humboldt Park neighborhood.<br /><br />&ldquo;This is something that has to be worked out by leadership,&rdquo; Coleman said. &ldquo;Our pressure needs to go on Obama and it needs to go on the Democratic leadership, who&rsquo;ve been playing us for two years, to finally come through and meet their promises.&rdquo;<br /><br />Coleman said that would mean making the DREAM Act part of any deal with Republicans about taxes.</p></p> Mon, 13 Dec 2010 11:08:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/adalberto-united-methodist-church/dream-act-backers-odds-over-how-pass-it Census changes congressional districts http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/census-changes-congressional-districts <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/redistricting census.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated at 1:32 p.m. on 12/09/2010</em></p><p>Census figures due at the end of the month could mean one less seat for the Land of Lincoln in the U.S. House of Representatives. State-by-state population figures compiled by the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.census.gov/">U.S. Census Bureau</a>, by law, must be delivered to the president by month&rsquo;s end. The information is used to determine the distribution of 435 seats in the U.S. House.</p><p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/">Bloomberg News</a> and political consulting firm <a target="_blank" href="http://www.electiondataservices.com/">Election Data Services Inc</a>. both expect Illinois to lose a seat based on their analyses of available data from the census and the Internal Revenue Service. The state is no stranger to the wrath of numbers: Illinois lost a congressional seat 10 years ago and lost two seats the decade before that.</p><p>The prospective loss would wean Illinois&rsquo; 19 members of Congress to 18, slightly diminishing the state&rsquo;s voice in that chamber. WBEZ&rsquo;s Sam Hudzik told &ldquo;Eight Forty-Eight&rdquo; host Alison Cuddy that redistricting, or a re-map, is a very political and contentious process.</p><p>Democrats could target one of the four congressional districts&mdash;the 8th, 11th, 14th and 17th&mdash;that turned Republican after the November mid-term election. Hudzik says his research suggests Democrats could try to swallow up Republican Don Manzullo&rsquo;s seat in northwest Illinois&rsquo; 16th District.</p><p>The Democratic point-man on redistricting in the Senate, Kwame Raoul, says that members of Congress, like the public, should provide input, not a decision.</p><p>&ldquo;One of the many things that came out of the hearings over the course of the last year and a half is that you just don&rsquo;t want the process to be simply about self-preservation,&rdquo; Raoul told Hudzik.</p><p>A spokesman for Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan said the topic of who will take responsibility for the map has not yet been discussed.</p><p>But as more specific numbers roll out, you can bet Rand McNally won&rsquo;t be the only map maker in town. The state constitution dictates that a lottery&mdash;yes, like pulling a number from a hat&mdash;determines which party charts the new boundaries in the event of a disagreement.</p><p>Hudzik will continue his coverage as Magellan-enthusiasts and vulnerable members of Congress await action from the Illinois House.</p><p><em>Music Button: Matorralman, &quot;Lunatica&quot;, from the CD Guateque Estelar, (Nacional)</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 09 Dec 2010 14:59:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/census-changes-congressional-districts AP: Republican Hultgren defeats Foster in 14th http://www.wbez.org/story/14th-congressional-district/ap-republican-hultgren-defeats-foster-14th <p><p>Democratic U.S. Rep. Bill Foster has been defeated by Republican Randy Hultgren in Illlinois' 14th congressional district. With 76 percent of precincts reporting, Hultgren had 51 percent of the votes on Tuesday and Foster had about 45 percent.</p><p>The 14th district stretches west of Chicago and is heavily Republican. Foster won the seat in a special election in 2008 after former House Speaker Dennis Hastert retired after two decades. Hultgren is an investment adviser. He was a state representative for nearly a decade before serving in the state Senate.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 03 Nov 2010 01:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/14th-congressional-district/ap-republican-hultgren-defeats-foster-14th