Roskam For Congress

May 31, 2006

Roskam ready to go to bat for Sixth Congressional District

Lawerence W. Synett

State Sen. Peter Roskam's (R-Wheaton) push to fill a seat in Congress has seen its ups and downs along the campaign trail, but through it all, Roskam is continuing to try to be the voice of the families and residents of Chicago suburbs.

Roskam, senator for Illinois Senate District 48, is running against Democratic opponent Tammy Duckworth in the hope of earning a seat representing the Sixth Congressional District of Illinois, which includes Villa Park and Lombard.

"I am very encouraged and look forward to continuing the rest of the campaign," said Roskam, who currently resides in Wheaton. "We have a clear plan and we are following through on that plan. With our local support, we are ahead and are continuing to build."

During the March 21 primary election, Roskam received over 50,000 votes, while Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran who lost both of her legs in combat, came away with 14,000 votes.

Roskam ran unopposed in the primary election and Duckworth narrowly defeated Democratic candidate Christine Cegelis.

Roskam recently was endorsed by the district's local Teamsters union, a group that traditionally backs Democrats.

According to Roskam, it was a tremendous boost to his campaign to receive the support of the Teamsters union.

"What they [the Teamsters union] said when they endorsed me was that they didn't agree with me on everything, but when they disagreed I would listen to them," said Roskam, "And when they agree with me, I am an advocate for them."

As Roskam continues to gain support from various area groups and organizations, an issue his opponent and other Democrats have brought up against him is Roskam's ties to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), who recently quit Congress, saying he does not want Republicans to lose House seats in the November election because of him.

DeLay reportedly has been connected to a growing federal lobbying scandal centered around convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. He also has been battling Texas state charges of allegedly laundering campaign donations.

Over 20 years ago, during DeLay's first term, Roskam worked as a legislative aid for him for nearly seven months.

Roskam believes that because of the struggles Democrats are having during a race that is receiving a significant amount of media attention, his opponents have decided to put a focal point on an issue that really has no bearing on his campaign.

"It is pretty much a stretch to make a link twenty years ago to someone I worked for for seven months," added Roskam. "He is not running my campaign."

In light of Roskam's ties to DeLay, he feels strongly that some of the people embracing Duckworth, and their alleged affiliation to corruption in the Chicagoland area are much worse than a seven-month stint working for DeLay some 20 years ago.

According to Roskam, two of Duckworth's patrons are listed on Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's "clout list" and recently, the head of the Democratic campaign committee who recruited Duckworth, Rahm Emanuel, was named in a federal corruption trial.

"I think that my opponent wishes that these issues would go away," added Roskam, who also stated that just recently Duckworth asked the Daley family for financial help.

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley has drawn national attention for the Chicago hired trucking scandal.

Roskam, who grew up in Glen Ellyn, believes that the key to winning a seat in the Sixth Congressional District of Illinois is the suburbs and the residents, who occupy the land outside of one of the largest cities in the country.

Major issues Roskam has been discussing recently have included preserving the environment and open space funding, tax relief and Blagojevich's recent tollway lease plan.

Roskam has sharply criticized Blagojevich for cutting $6.9 million of open space funding in previous years and proposing another $6.1 million in cuts this year.

According to Roskam, open space funding is a real priority in the suburbs, and historically, funding has been set aside for districts throughout Illinois.

"My wife and four kids live near a beautiful park and we enjoy it very much. That type of funding is very important," said Roskam.

The state senator, who has and continues to be a major advocate for open space funding, originally led a petition drive when Blagojevich proposed the nearly $7 million in cuts a couple of years ago.

Roskam, along with many other Republicans, also insisted that the open space funding be restored when Blagojevich again attempted to cut funding.

"Open space funding helps the suburbs more than any other region and historically it has done well," added Roskam. "This is an area where my family lives, works and goes to school. I am happy to go and be an advocate for it."

Another focal point of Roskam's campaign is tax relief, mainly focusing on an attempt to eliminate the marriage penalty, the per child tax credit and the death tax.

On April 17, Roskam called for a number of tax cut measures to be made, and has also highlighted more than 14 bills he has either authored or co-authored as a legislator, which would reduce the tax burden for families and businesses.

According to Roskam, couples shouldn't be penalized for getting married and families should not be penalized for having children.

He also believes that because there are dozens of businesses in the district that are second- or third-generation businesses, they are subject to a very high tax burden when the business passes from one generation to the other and "that is just not right."

"Our district knows that cutting taxes creates an economic environment where people can flourish," said Roskam. "It is not big business and these family-owned businesses are the bread and butter of our area. Eliminate those taxes and eliminate them permanently."

With the help of state Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale) of the 24th District, Roskam has also questioned Blagojevich's plans to lease the Illinois Tollway.

According to Roskam, the tollway is a huge asset worth around $14 billion, and to sell or lease that asset concerns him.

"It is not so much the idea that concerns me, but what are we going to do with the proceeds?" asked Roskam.

Dillard and Roskam have proposed provisions to Blagojevich's plan that would require 66 percent of the lease price to be used for projects or purposes that benefit a county near the toll roads and would also prohibit political contributions by the tollway operator.

"The tollway is a suburban asset and the communities should be the beneficiaries," said Roskam, who has 12 years experience in the legislature. "We need to carefully study and look at it to protect the suburbs."

Roskam also said he is determined, if elected to Congress, to go to Washington with the mindset to protect the suburbs.

"I was raised in this area and live with my family here. I am prepared to go to Washington to make a difference," added Roskam.