Scott Air Force Base – Bill Enyart entered the health care debate last week saying he would vote against repealing President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Speaking in the shade beneath an airplane wing outside Scott Air Force Base in his first press conference since Democratic leaders selected him to run for the 12th Congressional District seat held by retiring U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, Enyart said although the ACA isn’t perfect, he supports many of its provisions, including keeping anyone up to 26 years old on their parents’ health insurance, elimination of pre-existing conditions and ending the lifetime cap on health insurance policies.
“It’s not perfect, no piece of legislation is, but certainly it’s got provisions that I think are necessary to protect American families,” Enyart said.
Enyart’s Republican opponent, Jason Plummer, a 31-year-old millionaire heir to a lumber fortune and a tea part favorite has said the “bill must be repealed .”
FIGHT FOR US
Enyart drew a further distinction between himself and Plummer by saying he would fight to protect the middle class.
“I believe the next voice representing us in Washington must be ready to fight for southern Illinois and must share southern Illinois values of hard work, honesty and fairness,” Enyart said. “Too many folks here are worried about making ends meet and the future of southern Illinois is at stake. We need to make sure there are good jobs for our families, Medicare for our seniors and an economy that southern Illinois families have confidence in.”
THE ENDORSED CANDIDATE
Enyart, who resigned his post as Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard to run for the seat, recently received the 12th Congressional COPE District endorsement.
Enyart also recently earned a spot on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s (DCCC) highly competitive Red-to-Blue program, which highlights top Democratic campaigns across the country and offers them financial, communications, grassroots and strategic support.
“When I served a Major General of the Illinois National Guard, I always put Southern Illinois values of hard work, honesty and fairness first,” Enyart said. “Southern Illinois families need to know that their next voice in Washington puts them first. We are going to build a grassroots, values-oriented campaign that’s focused on creating jobs, responsibly reducing the deficit and fighting for a strong middle class and a secure retirement.”
DCCC Chairman Steve Israel said Enyart “understands what hard working Southern Illinois families are going through, and he will build a strong grassroots campaign that fights to create jobs…protect Social Security and Medicare, and responsibly reduce the deficit.”
Democratic leaders chose Enyart to run for Congress in the 12th Congressional District, which runs from Metro East to the southern tip of Illinois, following the unexpected departure of the previous Democratic candidate, Brad Harriman of Bellville, who had to leave the race for medical reasons.
Illinois Republicans and the GOP Congressional Campaign Committee in Washington have targeted the race as one of the districts they think they can win now that Costello is retiring.
LOCAL AND UNION TIES
Enyart is a Belleville resident. He and his wife, a retired judge, raised their two adults sons in Belleville.
Enyart has strong union ties in his family. His father worked on the assembly line at Caterpillar tractor company and was a member of the UAW. Enyart worked on the welding line at Caterpillar while he was in school to pay for college. His uncle is a retired United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) coal miner.
Noting that his opponent has a nine-month lead in the race, and a financial edge, Enyart said Plummer’s “financial disclosure forms reveal that he is worth somewhere between $15 and $46 million, and he will self-finance a large portion of his campaign. However, all of that money can never but him what this district needs most: that’s experienced leadership.”