Roskam, Hultgren will go to the GOP convention

With the high-profile decisions of Gov. Bruce Rauner and U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk to stay home from the Republican National Convention next week, two suburban members of Congress will be among the highest-ranking members of the Illinois delegation there.

U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, a Wheaton Republican, says he'll be trying to focus on a positive message when he speaks to the state's delegation.

Roskam hasn't said much about the convention or Donald Trump in recent months as Rauner and Kirk have been in the headlines about their party's nominee and plans for Cleveland.

Roskam said he wants to offer perspective to the delegation.

“We have a lot to be thankful for in the United States, and we have incredible challenges in the United States. And that we ought not be despondent,” Roskam said. “But instead, we should say we as a generation can rise to the challenges that are presented before us.”

‘Invite them to join him'

Roskam just a few years ago was the No. 4 Republican in the U.S. House, but lost that role in a bid to move up. Last year during the race for a new speaker, Roskam got attention for calling a meeting about the future of the party.

“Donald Trump's challenge is, number one, make the campaign a referendum on Hillary Clinton,” Roskam said. “And number 2, communicate to people that their future is bright and can be bright. And essentially invite them to join him in the work.”

Hultgren going

U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren said in May he was “not sold” on Trump. This week, the Plano Republican said he is encouraged after the presumptive nominee's recent meeting with House GOP members and looks forward to learning more.

“Let me be clear: I will support the Republican nominee. I stand strong in my belief that Hillary Clinton is the wrong choice for president,” Hultgren said. “I look forward to working with a president who respects Congress' lawmaking authority and who can willingly engage with Congress to pass solutions that fix our nation's problems.”

The voters

We asked Roskam: Will it matter that Rauner and Kirk skip?

“I don't think the general public is focusing on who attends and who declines political conventions,” he said. “They're far more interested in solutions.”

Democrats' turn

After the Republican National Convention Monday through Thursday, the Democratic National Convention is July 25-28 in Philadelphia.

Keep up with it all

During both parties' turns, we'll email a daily newsletter with top stories from the conventions, including our analyses about how the national stage colors Illinois races, what you should watch for from the day's events, and what suburban delegates are doing and how they feel about what's going on.

Go to and select “National Convention News” to get our daily selection of coverage about the Republican convention next week and the Democratic convention the week after.

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  U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, a Plano Republican, says he'll go to the convention in Cleveland next week. Rick West/
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