Profile: Republican 5th district candidates Part 3

February 27, 2009 3:03:02 PM PST
Only twice in the past 104 years has a Republican been elected as congressman from Illinois' 5th Congressional District. Both times Republicans held the seat for a single, short, two-year term. The field of 22 candidates will be narrowed down to three on Tuesday - one Democrat, one Republican and one Green party candidate. Over the past two days, we've met the 12 Democrats. Today we meet the Republicans.

This special election is being held to fill the seat vacated by Democrat Rahm Emanuel. The three-term congressman won re-election by a huge margin in November - taking 74 percent of the vote.

But in January Emanuel resigned to become White House chief of staff.

Tom Hanson is the Republican who campaigned against Emanuel last fall. Now he's back. His top issues are job creation and combating corruption in government.

The real estate executive is quick to emphasize that he is not a traditional Republican.

"I'm a liberal Republican. I'm fiscally conservative but I'm liberal on social issues. And I'm basically designing my campaign hopefully to appeal to everybody in the district," Hanson said.

Like the majority of candidates in this race, chemist David Anderson cites the economy and jobs as his top concern, followed by healthcare reform.

Anderson is hoping to take the message of "change" and turn the tables on democrats in this race.

"It is possible that we can reform Illinois politics. You simply need to choose a ballot and vote. In this case I suggest you choose a Republican ballot, send a message? and say no to corruption," said Anderson.

Attorney and professor Greg Bedell supports what he describes as a return to Republican fundamentals. Job creation and education issues are tops on his priority list.

Bedell believes his collaborative working style would help him be an effective congressman.

"I listen and I do my best to understand issues. I work people that disagree with me, so I can test my ideas and try to get to the heart of the problem, so that we can solve it better. Listen, understand, lead. That's the way I approach it," Bedell said.

Daniel Kay Cites the economy and tax reform as key issues. And, he supports term limits, vowing to hold himself to a maximum of two terms. Assuming he's elected to Congress, Kay believes his ability to persuade others would be his strongest asset.

"I'm going to be one of 435 people. I need to convince slightly more than half of them that I'm right. I've had that ability to do that in past as a community activist. I'm going to be able to do that as a representative of the people," said Kay.

Rosana Pulido is an activist and caregiver who supports stronger enforcement of laws controlling illegal immigration. Pulido's message is that the jobs and illegal immigration issues are closely entwined.

"I have been a voice that has been nationally recognized, calling out for immigration laws to be enforced. Why? Illegal immigration depresses the wages of American workers," Pulido said.

John Stewart puts jobs and healthcare front and center. As owner of an auto dealership in the 5th Congressional District, Stewart says he has a first-hand understanding of today's toughest issues from the perspective of a small businessman.

"I have the most at stake in this district. Because I am a small business owner. I know what it's like to live on a budget and I do that every day in my business," said Stewart.