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updated: 7/31/2017 9:57 AM

Naperville business owner enters 5-way Democratic race to unseat Roskam

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  • Becky Anderson Wilkins

    Becky Anderson Wilkins

  • Carole Cheney

    Carole Cheney

  • Amanda Howland

    Amanda Howland

  • Suzyn Price

    Suzyn Price

  • Kelly Mazeski

    Kelly Mazeski

  • U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam.

    U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam.

 
 
This article has been updated to correct the year Becky Anderson Wilkins' great grandfather ran for congress. The year was 1946.

The field of potential Democratic challengers seeking to unseat U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam of Wheaton widened Thursday when Becky Anderson Wilkins of Naperville announced her candidacy.

Anderson is the fifth woman to enter the race as a Democrat, expressing dissatisfaction with what she called Roskam's "far-right views" and the way she says he's failing to listen to residents of the wide-ranging suburban district.

"I really feel like I connect with the community," Anderson said Thursday. "It's listening, not just hearing, and being truthful, fair and real."

Anderson, 59, is a co-owner of Anderson's Bookshops in Naperville, Downers Grove and La Grange, and a Naperville City Council member since 2015. She says she's running to satisfy a longtime family interest in national politics -- her great-grandfather ran for Congress in 1946 -- and to be a leader who cares about the communities she represents.

The 6th District stretches from Naperville to Tower Lakes and includes parts of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties.

"It's serving people and doing the right thing," she said. "And that's what we're not seeing."

Roskam has represented the district since 2007, when the Republican narrowly beat now U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth. Last fall, he claimed nearly 60 percent of the vote against Democrat Amanda Howland of Lake Zurich.

Howland has announced a bid to seek the seat in the 2018 election, as have Carole Cheney, a congressional aide from Aurora; Kelly Mazeski, a Barrington Hills plan commission member; and Suzyn Price, a former Naperville school board member.

Anderson said she's thrilled so many women are running, and she's looking forward to the district having a new representative who will chart a different course on issues such as health care, the environment and banking regulations.

"(With) my engagement in our community and beyond as a small-business owner and an elected official, I bring different skills to the job." Anderson said. "The way I think I can build those bridges sets me apart from the rest of the pack."

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