Though I have supported both Democrats and Republicans, I find supporting Republicans increasingly difficult. President Bush tried to introduce the idea of “compassionate conservatism”. That concept now seems gone. In current Republican thinking, any increase in capital gains taxes is called “class warfare.” Needed immigration reform languishes, deferring the acknowledged national benefits included in the DREAM Act. Partisanship abounds. I hope for something better.
In 2009 our country was reeling from the financial crisis. After briefly researching the candidates for the 2010 primary (the Republican seat was the open seat), I was incredulous to find that none of the declared candidates had a thing to say in response to our financial crisis. I resolved that at least in my district someone was going to talk about financial reform. I got on the Republican primary ballot. After one candidate forum, the moderator thanked me for coming and then good naturedly said, “You know, this is a Republican primary. So, what are you doing here? You are not going to find many folks sympathetic to what you are saying.” That did turn out to be the case.
In 2014 I was the Democratic candidate who opposed Aaron Schock. I emphasized over and over where the two parties shared common ground on issues that desperately needed action.
I might most easily be described as a Mennonite farmer. That most accurately describes my primary spheres of association – the Mennonite Church, its workers and ministries and the agricultural community in Central Illinois and the wider Midwest. Like most of my neighbors, I have worked with agricultural associations and served with different church ministries and their boards.
I am a 1975 graduate of Goshen College, Indiana, with a BA in natural science. My wife, Lynette, and I have three grown children, and two grandchildren.