8th District candidates tout experience

One was the mayor of Elmhurst and is now a DuPage County Board member. The other is a tech entrepreneur and a former Illinois deputy treasurer. Both want to go to Congress from the 8th district.

Republican Pete DiCianni and Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi think their experiences in government and in business make them uniquely qualified for Congress.

DiCianni of Elmhurst said he's proven he is an effective elected leader. He was Elmhurst mayor 2009-2012 and was elected to the DuPage County Board in 2012, an office he still holds.

DiCianni said he secured hundreds of millions of dollars from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for flooding relief in both 2010 and 2013, getting the bipartisan support of U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and Republican 6th District Congressman Peter Roskam.

DiCianni said he helped draft four health care laws in Illinois, including Brianna's Law, which secures insurance coverage for children with autism and has become law in 44 states.

He also said he helped pave the way this spring for potentially lifesaving surgery for 3-year-old Kimberly Alvarez of Addison, whose Medicaid funding was stalled by the state budget crisis.

Krishnamoorthi, meanwhile, said he's been an innovator in the tech industry and an appointed public servant as Illinois deputy treasurer and in the Illinois Attorney General's office.

In the treasurer's office he helped make the program that returns unclaimed property run more quickly and less costly. In the attorney general's office he said he worked in the anti-corruption unit to help bring greater transparency to state government.

Krishnamoorthi added that his work as a small-business man and tech entrepreneur demonstrates that Illinois and the Chicago area are places where innovation and economic growth can thrive.

DiCianni said he is motivated to run for Congress to bring his people-driven focus to Washington.

"I don't write white papers, I write bills and laws, and I think that's the difference between myself and Raja Krishnamoorthi," DiCianni said.

"He hasn't shown any leadership. He's never been elected. It seems like he keeps running for office and never getting elected to anything."

Krishnamoorthi, who beat two elected officials to win the Democratic primary for the 8th congressional district this past spring, said his victory demonstrates that the kind of experience DiCianni is touting isn't necessarily what voters are seeking.

"In 2016 voters are looking for fresh ideas and detailed solutions to their problems," Krishnamoorthi said. "I think what I have to offer matches up well with what's most needed in Congress."

He said he intends to champion middle-class issues like the expense of child care, the need for a higher minimum wage and the strengthening of Social Security and Medicaid for a more dignified retirement.

The 8th District is roughly centered in Schaumburg and includes parts of northwest Cook, northeast Kane and northeast DuPage counties.

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