Illinois State Sen. Jim Oberweis | http://senatoroberweis.com/
Lake County Republican Federation committee member Keith Gray is clear in his reasoning for backing Illinois state Sen. Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove) in his run for U.S. Congress.
“Jim has been watching Illinois politics for a long time and is very familiar with all the dysfunction here,” Gray told the Lake County Gazette. “I believe he is the most-qualified person to represent that district based on the experience he’s gained over the last several years.”
Oberweis, who has served in the state Senate since 2013, recently threw his hat in the ring among a growing list of candidates preparing to challenge first-term lawmaker U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Naperville) in the 14th congressional district in November 2020. Underwood shocked many when she knocked off four-term incumbent Randy Hultgren of Plano last year in the traditionally Republican stronghold district. Already, state Rep. Allen Skillicorn (R-East Dundee) and state Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris) have also announced their plans to challenge her in 2020.
Gray said he sees Oberweis, a dairy magnate and investor by trade, as being just the kind of conservative-minded, fiscally responsible lawmaker both the district and the country are in need of at this point and time.
“That particular district is heavily into agriculture and farmers have had a really hard time,” he said. “That’s the short-term issue I think he’s going to have deal with. The more important thing is that Congress becomes more Republican so we can get more sensible legislation passed there.”
Oberweis recently took to social media to address the state’s growing problem of outmigration. In a post to Facebook, the lawmaker blamed “liberal policies” for a trend that has seen the state lose at least 157,000 residents over the last five years, making Illinois one of just two states to suffer cumulative population loss over the last decade. West Virginia is the other state to lose population.
Gray said it’s that kind of leadership that makes Oberweis stand out in a crowded field of candidates.
“I think state Sen. Oberweis has a longer tenure than all of the other candidates and that goes back to before he was even involved in Illinois politics,” he said. “He’s been throughout the entire state. I’ve never seen any of the others up in Lake County at all.”