Endorsement: Walz as the Democrat to face Hultgren for Congress in the fall
The 14th Congressional District hasn't exactly been kind to Democrat candidates. Before Bill Foster competently served the district from 2008 to 2011, you'd have to go back to the Franklin D. Roosevelt presidency to find a Democrat holding the seat.
It's a new district now, one touching seven counties and covering nearly 1,600 square miles from near the Wisconsin border south to Joliet. Three men are vying for the chance to try to put another Democrat in office.
John Hosta of Spring Grove, Jesse Maggitt of Plainfield and Jim Walz of Gurnee want your vote in March for the person who will take on Republican U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren in November.
Hosta, a 56-year-old stock trader, is familiar with the issues in the race, having lost two years ago to Dennis Anderson, who was subsequently defeated by Hultgren.
Hosta has no shortage of ideas, and says one way to make Congress more effective would be to introduce more micromanagement options instead of a one-size-fits-all approach.
Maggitt, 46, a major in the U.S. Army, ran unsuccessfully in 2013 for the Joliet Junior College board of trustees and has not held elected office. To make Congress more effective, he said he would never shut down government and would be on call or in service 24 hours a day.
"I like to do things right when no one is looking," he said.
Walz, 53, a Warren Township High School District 121 board member, says progressive taxation will raise revenue for the budget while limiting income inequality. He also wants to increase taxes on the wealthiest individuals and tax capital gains the same as ordinary income.
There aren't many significant differences among the candidates, but one area that does separate them is health care.
Maggitt says Republicans have been on a mission to destroy the Affordable Care Act and the program needs to be adequately transparent and administered.
Hosta said both Democrats and Republicans flubbed on the ACA, and he has a four-pronged approach to fix it: Allow more generic pharmaceutical companies to compete; allow medical insurance companies to compete nationwide not just within state boundaries; display all medical costs online; and give everyone a $2,000 medical savings account, with unused money rewarded back as a tax credit.
Walz wants, ultimately, universal health care, while expanding and improving Medicaid and addressing mental health issues.
Hosta has the most detailed plan for health care, though, like Maggitt, he has not held elected office.
Walz, the school board member, is also a precinct committeeman in Warren Township. He says climate change, lowering the cost of higher education and addressing the negative impact of money in politics are issues important to him as a candidate.
He would provide a clear choice in a bid against the conservative Hultgren, but insists the election is not about individuals. "I'm not running against my opponents ... I'm running for the people of the 14th District," Walz said.
Walz is endorsed.