Ives seeks 'more freedom' for 6th District in campaign to unseat Casten

There will be policy battles on health care, the environment and taxes, but the central issue in the race to represent the 6th District in the U.S. House of Representatives has to do with freedom and control, says the newest candidate to enter the campaign.

"The more you have government interfere in the marketplace, the less freedom you have to act on your own," said Jeanne Ives, a Wheaton Republican who announced her bid last week to run for the seat now held by freshman Democrat Sean Casten of Downers Grove. "He sees more government as more freedom, and we absolutely do not believe that at all."

Ives said she believes American innovation can overcome the nation's most pressing problems and she's the person to work with anyone willing to find the best solutions.

Ives, a three-term former state representative who challenged then-Gov. Bruce Rauner in the 2018 Republican primary, said she still cares deeply about Illinois politics and running to represent the 6th District at the federal level will bring positive benefits to the state.

"If we export big, Chicago-style Democratic policies to the federal government, our state as a whole will be so much worse off," Ives said.

Although she is speaking out already against Casten's views and policies, Ives first is lined up to face former Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti in a Republican primary that will pit two former Wheaton City Council opponents against each other again.

Sanguinetti's campaign last week said her team welcomes Ives to the race and looks "forward to showing why Evelyn is the conservative with the best chance to beat Casten."

Marty Keller, chairman of the DuPage County Republicans, said he hopes finding the best person to defeat Casten, a clean energy entrepreneur who unseated longtime Republican Rep. Peter Roskam last year, will be the true focus of the 2020 primary. But he doesn't look forward to the anticipated conflicts between Sanguinetti and Ives.

"They're going to bump heads and spend money," Keller said about the intraparty foes. "I don't think you'll find a primary that made the party stronger afterward."

Ives, 54, said she won't overlook the primary and knows Sanguinetti has her supporters. But she said she isn't worried about conflict within the Republican Party.

"What Republican Party?" she said. "The Republican Party is pretty divided already."

Her primary run against Rauner is one illustration, and not an example she shies away from. Ives said that challenge shows she's able to call out - or work with - people of any party when policy or the public good calls for it.

"Nobody's been more independent from both parties than Jeanne Ives," she said.

But in her campaign launch speech Sunday, Ives aligned herself with Roskam, touting the endorsement she has received from the former congressman and his wife, Elizabeth.

Casten's campaign noted Ives' entrance in the race with a statement from campaign manager Chloe Hunt painting him as a businessman focused on reducing health care costs, taxes and the threat of global warming, while describing his potential opponents as politicians.

"Jeanne Ives and Evelyn Sanguinetti both embrace an extreme partisan ideology that would deny a woman's right to choose and raise our health care costs, they both strongly support President (Donald) Trump and they both are wildly out of touch with the concerns of the 6th Congressional District," Hunt's statement said.

On the topic of health care, Ives said she'll work with anyone who believes treatment can be provided at lower costs by maintaining a private market of employer-provided insurance coverage rather than by bringing everyone onto a government plan or giving everyone an option to buy into Medicare.

"If you do that, you collapse the system," she said about offering a Medicare buy-in option, which she said will price out private competitors and remove those options for consumers. "It's a government takeover of health care entirely. ... It leaves no one better off."

On issues including border security, taxes, regulatory cuts and rebuilding the military, Ives said her views align with Trump's. She said she's not concerned Trump's unpopularity in the district in 2018 will hurt her campaign.

"I think he really does care about solving problems, and he has shown that," she said.

In her campaign speech Sunday, Ives said the businesses, schools and social service providers of the 6th District deserve to be "a national policy leader," and she is the right person to bring their work to the nation.

The 6th District stretches from Naperville to Tower Lakes and includes parts of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties. It was represented by Republicans from 1972 to 2018.

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Wheaton Republican Jeanne Ives is running for Congress in the 6th House District, saying her campaign is about bringing more freedom and less government control to allow American innovation to solve the nation's problems. Courtesy of Jeanne for Congress
Evelyn Sanguinetti
  Sean Casten takes questions at a news conference last November after he won election to the 6th Congressional District. Bev Horne/
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