Dem. Kelly Mazeski challenging Roskam with healthcare focus

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Healthcare will be a hotly debated subject in Illinois's 6th Congressional District where U.S. Representative Peter Roskam was re-elected.

Democrats are planning a strong challenge to his re-election.

One of the challengers is a cancer survivor.

"If you told me I would be standing here running for Congress, I wouldn't believe it," said Democrat Kelly Mazeski.

But Mazeski is believing it now. The 57-year-old mother of two is determined to win the Democratic primary in the 6th Congressional District and take on incumbent Roskam.

"This is personal for me in this race," said Mazeski. "He is out of touch, been in this too long, he doesn't know what it's like for American's to walk this walk."

When it comes to navigating health insurance, Mazeski said she has walked the walk. As a cancer survivor who once lost her health insurance and as a mother of a daughter with a rare medical condition, Mazeski is basing her campaign on the fight to keep the Affordable Care Act. She said voters must hold Roskam accountable for the vote he took Thursday to repeal the ACA.

"I couldn't ask for a more critical time to launch my campaign when so much is at stake with people with pre-existing conditions," Mazeski said.

The 6th District covers parts of five counties. Roskam's seat is one the Democratic Party believes it can win, and resources from both parties are likely to pour in. Thursday, Mazeski tried to gain support from a group called the Brown Bag Progressives. The group is made up of mostly women who said they are determined to elect a Democrat who has what it takes to beat Roskam in a politically diverse district

"Women are very important in this district, it's a well-educated district and women are ready to go," said Sue Walton of Brown Bag Progressive.

"I think this election and current administration has really woken people up and made them think it starts at the electoral base," said Gail Vandale of Brown Bag Progressive.

Mazeski is one of several Democrats planning to challenge Roskam. Her political experience includes serving as a village trustee in North Barrington and serving on zoning and plan boards. She also volunteered for the Obama campaign and worked for former Congresswoman Melissa Bean.
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