Voters will have a choice in the Democrat who will fight for the 14th District seat against incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren later this year.
Dennis Anderson, who ran against Hultgren on the Democratic ticket in 2012, will oppose newcomer John Hosta, a small business owner, for a spot on the ballot.
The two Democrats clash on a number of issues, but most noticeably, the two have different proposed strategies to turn around the nation’s economy.
Hosta, a Democrat from Spring Grove, said Congress’ No. 1 job should be to address the government’s foreign trade policies to keep and create more jobs in the U.S.
“I believe firmly that we need to get back to traditional trade policies,” Hosta said. “We have diminished the quality and industry by bringing in cheap foreign products.”
Hosta said that the unemployment crisis is a “symptom of the failure of our government and society in many ways.”
“We can modernize manufacturing here in America. Middle America is the key — the muscle of our country,” he said.
Anderson, a Democrat from Gurnee, said the problem is much more complex than trades and tariffs. The retired Anderson spent his career working for the Wisconsin Department of Health and Special services and in university cancer research.
“We’re clearly in a recovery and have been since 2009 when you look at the stock market and corporate profits, but that recovery hasn’t reach Main Street so much,” Anderson said.
If elected, Anderson said he will push for more jobs by fully funding the Small Business Administration investing in the country’s “crumbling infrastructure.”
“There are more than 50 bridges in the 14th District deemed structurally deficient,” Anderson said this week. “They need attention and that eliminates our current problem by creating good paying jobs.”
Anderson said he would also work with local employers to ensure that the skills they need from employees are taught in workforce development programs in schools.
Hosta would also work to reform welfare and food stamp programs to weed out fraud, he said.
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
With the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama overhauled the nation’s health care system.
Anderson said he supported the move, and in the end, thinks the program will reduce the cost of health care for all.
“It’s been disruptive around the edges, but people are enrolling and I fully anticipate over time it’s going to show positive results,” Anderson said.
Hosta said he is “very concerned” about the state of the nation’s healthcare system, but he doesn’t yet have a firm stance on the Affordable Care Act.
“The jury’s still out. Here’s the big problem with the Affordable Care Act — it’s a disaster at this time,” he said. “You can’t take middle America and make them pay for this. That’s just going to hurt the economy further.”
When it comes to abortion, the two Democrat challengers disagree.
Hosta said he is personally pro-life, and thinks that the federal government should ensure a woman is presented with adoption and other options when making a decision about abortion.
Anderson is pro-choice, he said.
“It should be rare, but legal and safe,” Anderson said. “Nobody likes abortion but I am pro-choice.”
Anderson said he certainly “is not campaigning to take people’s guns away,” but that here is room for common sense gun control legislation. First, he’d support stricter background checks, he said.
Hosta said he supports the Second Amendment, grew up around guns and would not support additional gun control laws.
“There are a lot of misconceptions and misunderstanding around guns,” he said.
Hosta wanted to run for the 14th District seat to bring a businessman’s perspective to Congress, he said.
“[Anderson] is more of a politician than I am,” Hosta said this week.
Anderson said it’s the same core issue that prompted him to run in 2012 – leadership. On the issues, he’s better versed than Hosta, he said.
“It’s the same things that made we want to run the first time — the frustration and anger and the extraordinarily poor performance of the congressman we have in place,” Anderson said of Hultgren.
Job: small business owner
Political experience: None
Involved in: Fox Lake Community Church member
Family: divorced, five grown children and one elementary-aged daughter