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Foster gets progressive primary opponent

Wednesday, Jul 24, 2019

* Another Dem primary

[US Rep. Bill Foster] is getting a primary challenger from the left for the suburban 11th Congressional District Seat. Will County Board Rachel Ventura, a progressive from Joliet, jumped in the March primary against Foster, who lives in Naperville. As of June 30, Foster has $3,104,802.93 cash-on-hand in his political war chest.

* More

On Saturday, Will County Board member Rachel Ventura, D-Joliet, officially launched her campaign to challenge U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, in the 2020 primary election.

Ventura emphasized a list of progressive policies on health care, the environment and immigration in an attempt to contrast herself with the incumbent.

“America does not need nor want transactional politics, nor pay-to-play politicians,” Ventura said. “We want our voices to be heard and represented.”

Ventura decried a “broken” political system and endorsed a $15 minimum wage indexed to inflation, the Green New Deal and comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. She also specifically criticized Foster for not supporting a Medicare-for-All health care system, and even said it was one of the reasons she thought to launch a primary challenge against him.

* From June

A group of about 15 people protested outside U.S. Rep. Bill Foster’s office to pressure him to support a single-payer health insurance proposal called “Medicare for All” on Friday.

Leaders of the local chapter of Our Revolution, a progressive organization created by supporters of Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, led the demonstration. […]

Other local officials such as Will County Board members Herbert Brooks Jr. and Rachel Ventura participated in the demonstration. Ventura shared her personal story of her fear in leaving her previous marriage with an abusive husband and losing health insurance in the process.

“If we do not have health care as a right, there are millions of people in relationships, abusive relationships, and they fear leaving,” Ventura said. “And they stay in a horrible situation because they’re too afraid. That is not a government that works for everyone.”

* Last week

Although she’s readily admitted this will be an “uphill battle” opposing Foster, who has retained that seat since 2012 on a moderate voting record, Ventura is convinced “the time is right” for a more progressive candidate to help fix what she sees as “signs of a crumbling society.”

Ventura became even more convinced in June, she told me, when she said Foster “blew off” her and a group of protesters who’d gathered at his district office to discuss a single payer healthcare system, after telling the media he’d meet with them.

* Her top priorities if elected

The Green New Deal has to be the first priority. We have to start addressing climate justice. When I say climate-justice I mean for it everybody, not just the wealthy few at the top, but everyone is being affected. We are all in this together. We need to make sure we are taking care of one another. The Green New Deal is about infrastructure, jobs, emissions, cleaning up pollutants, and then I would say Medicare for All is my second priority. They are both equally important and investing in people telling them they are valued. Healthcare is a human right. We have the money for it now. We are wasting so much money on having insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies profit off of the suffering of others, and enough is enough.

* More

She said in the release she recognizes the national significance of the race as the divide spreads wider between the Progressive Democrats and the New Democrat Coalition, a conservative caucus 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,” Ventura said.

* Greg Hinz

Foster responded with a big list of endorsements, including eight Democrats who serve on the Will County Board with Ventura, Will County Executive Larry Walsh and several state legislators.

Foster also put out a statement strongly defending his stances on some of the issues highlighted by Ventura. For instance, according to Foster, with the middle class “overtaxed,” the better solution to health insurance woes is to create competition and lower costs by strengthening Obamacare and creating a public-option health insurance plan.

On the environment, Foster said that despite opposition from the Trump White House, “I’ve been successful in securing additional funding every year for research into clean energy technologies that will ensure we have the methods we need to actually combat climate change at an acceptable cost to the global economy.”

Perhaps more important, Foster reported $3.1 million in his campaign war chest as of June 30, while Ventura has had to start from scratch. Foster also has hired the same campaign team he used to challenge then-GOP incumbent Denny Hastert in 2008, including strategists Pete Giangreco, Jef Pollock and Tom Bowen.

* Foster’s endorsements…

Will County Board Members Speaker Denise Winfrey (District 8), Majority Leader Mark Ferry (District 13), Majority Whip Tyler Marcum (District 10), Reverend Herb Brooks (District 8), Mimi Cowan (District 11), Jacqueline Traynere (District 4), Margaret Tyson (District 3), and Joe Van Duyne (District 6), all endorsed Foster’s campaign.

Local elected leaders are also standing will Bill Foster, including State Senator Laura Ellman (IL-21), State Senator Linda Holmes (IL-42), State Representative Barbara Hernandez (IL-83), State Representative Natalie Manley (IL-98), State Representative Larry Walsh Jr. (IL-86), Illinois 11th Congressional District Democratic State Central Committeewoman Julia Beckman, Illinois 11th Congressional District Democratic State Central Committeeman Duffy Blackburn, Will County Executive Larry Walsh Sr., Bolingbrook Village Trustee Bob Jaskiewicz, and Fox Valley Park District Commissioner Mavis Bates. […]

(L)ocal Democratic Party leaders are also standing with Foster. Jeff Boetto (Chairman, Troy Township Democrats), Kevin Clancy (Chairman, Plainfield Township Democratic Organization), Greg Elsbree (Chairman, Aurora Township Democrats), Ken Griffin (Chairman, Lockport Township Democrats), Nora Gruenberg (Chairwoman, New Lenox Township Democrats), Nick Palmer (Chairman, Wheatland Township Democrats), Kim Savage (Chairwoman, Downers Grove Township Democrats), and Bill Thoman (Chairman, Will County Democratic Central Committee)

- Posted by Rich Miller        

20 Comments
  1. - @misterjayem - Wednesday, Jul 24, 19 @ 12:03 pm:

    “Uphill battle” is quite the understatement.

    That said, much MUCH stranger things have happened of late.

    – MrJM


  2. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Jul 24, 19 @ 12:05 pm:

    An uphill battle to be sure. Foster seems relatively well thought of and also seems more in line with that D+9 district than some of the policies Ms. Ventura supports. I doubt there will be a groundswell to remove him. And that war chest.


  3. - DuPage Saint - Wednesday, Jul 24, 19 @ 12:13 pm:

    I don’t think she has a chance in the world but I bet the Republicans would love her to win. The district would flip to red. And I would think any incumbent, after the last election, would run like he or she is 20 points down. Right Randy Hultgren?


  4. - Roman - Wednesday, Jul 24, 19 @ 12:28 pm:

    Foster is a mainstream liberal, which isn’t left enough for some, but not enough to beat him, at least not in that district. Lipinski is a conservative Dem, which is why he is in jeopardy.


  5. - DIstant watcher - Wednesday, Jul 24, 19 @ 12:30 pm:

    If she runs a campaign calling all true Democrats in that part of the state to join her on the ramparts, she’ll lose and have nothing to show for it. But if she focuses on message testing and voter ID, she’ll still probably lose but will generate data that could be useful for future races.


  6. - City Zen - Wednesday, Jul 24, 19 @ 12:49 pm:

    ==When I say climate-justice I mean for it everybody, not just the wealthy few at the top, but everyone is being affected. We are all in this together.==

    Poor grammar aside, is the current intent of climate justice to benefit only the 1%?


  7. - Fav Human - Wednesday, Jul 24, 19 @ 12:53 pm:

    We need several more like Rachel :):):)


  8. - brickle - Wednesday, Jul 24, 19 @ 1:10 pm:

    Foster’s ok but I remember being annoyed by his debt/deficit scare-mongering as part of his first campaign in 2012.


  9. - Victor Kingston - Wednesday, Jul 24, 19 @ 1:23 pm:

    Blunt take on this one. Ventura is disliked by every established democratic organization in the county except for the Will County Progressives who have no teeth and no capacity. She’s exceptionally far left, but not in a way I would describe as positive. She’s much too focused on national issues and has difficulty speaking to the concerns of her district. Her team is easily distracted and does not play well with others.

    That all being said. She and her team understand the fundamentals of door to door politics better than most in the area. They absolutely will knock on more doors than Foster’s organization is currently prepared to do. In Will County in a primary that’s going to do a lot. Foster needs to not ignore her and prepare to actually run a campaign or he’s going to get caught blinking. Thought, I expect the trade unions will get involved in this one with bodies on the ground. To say they dislike Ventura is an wild understatement and they are very effective on the ground if properly motivated.


  10. - Honeybadger - Wednesday, Jul 24, 19 @ 1:31 pm:

    She was just elected to the Will County board and she already wants to move up? And for Congress?

    Sheesh, give me a break.


  11. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jul 24, 19 @ 1:32 pm:

    ===she already wants to move up? And for Congress?===

    It’s still a free country last time I checked. We have a POTUS who never ran for anything.


  12. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jul 24, 19 @ 1:34 pm:

    ===And for Congress?===

    Tammy Duckworth’s first ever campaign was for Congress. Did you complain then?


  13. - A Voter In 11 - Wednesday, Jul 24, 19 @ 1:55 pm:

    Looking over that list of local democratic party leaders, I see a few notable names absent from the list. The post-trump moment elected a lot of Berniecrats to the county boards and township dems. Some low-hanging fruit for her to help coalition-build.


  14. - A guy - Wednesday, Jul 24, 19 @ 2:20 pm:

    Bill Foster is a Conservative ??
    Wow, you learn something new everyday;
    if you’re head is soft as a bun.


  15. - thunderspirit - Wednesday, Jul 24, 19 @ 2:20 pm:

    I have met Rachel Ventura. I like her.

    I believe this is a Quixotic endeavor on her part. But I’ve been wrong before.


  16. - Romeo - Wednesday, Jul 24, 19 @ 2:29 pm:

    Does Bill really want the endorsement of Ken Griffin of Lockport Township Democrats?

    https://patch.com/illinois/romeoville/romeoville-trustee-charged-dui-days-after-reelection


  17. - Amalia - Wednesday, Jul 24, 19 @ 2:52 pm:

    any Dem who supports her should be ashamed. waste of time, and money, and opening him up for criticism. and running against a superb MC.


  18. - NorthsideNoMore - Wednesday, Jul 24, 19 @ 3:26 pm:

    Up hill battle but good for her , maybe she will be more direct and accounatble to the voters in the district. If you have to listen to a 5 min answer of a question turn into a 30 min soliloquy on him its hard to take after the umpteenth time.


  19. - Nameless - Wednesday, Jul 24, 19 @ 4:01 pm:

    They’re going to study climate change until it’s too late to do anything about it.


  20. - IT Guy - Wednesday, Jul 24, 19 @ 7:07 pm:

    As an independent moderate who lives in his district I am behind Bill Foster.


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