Collinsville, IL – A retired vice chancellor of Southern Illinois University Carbondale is the second Democrat to announce he will run next year in the 12th Congressional District.
Raymond Lenzi, 72, of Carbondale appeared before the Southwestern Illinois Building and Construction Trades Council to announce his bid to challenge the incumbent, Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro).
Lenzi retired in 2006 as SIUC Vice Chancellor for Economic Development and CEO of SIU Research Park. He then spent 10 years as board chairman for River to River Residential, now known as The Journey, which provides assisted and supportive living facilities in the region.
Joel Funk, of Mascoutah, a former Army aviation officer, has announced his candidacy in the 12th District Democratic primary as well. He is now a Northwestern Mutual representative in Fairview Heights. More information on Funk can be found on the Labor Tribune website and on Facebook.
A FORMER MINER
Lenzi told the Trades Council that he consulted before beginning his run with Ed Smith, from Marion, IL, a national leader of the Laborers and CEO of Union Labor Life Insurance Co. He said Smith told him to be sure and visit the Trades Council.
“I grew up United Mine Worker,” Lenzi said. “In our household, there was one big picture on the wall. You can guess whose it is – some of you that are older. He had bushy eyebrows. His name was John L. Lewis.
“I worked my way through college at four and a half times the minimum wage as a United Mine Worker, so I know about Labor, and I will be a strong supporter of Labor.”
INFRASTRUCTURE BILL NUMBER ONE
“The first thing we will do is support a big infrastructure bill that will get everybody here working for the next ten years. That’s number one,” Lenzi said. “And raise the minimum wage and pass better labor laws so that we can organize a bigger part of the workforce to be union labor, so that we all get a better slice of the pie and America prospers.”
Bost, he said, has ignored his promise to serve the district’s residents. “He’s not standing with the people, only the super-rich.”
Before working at SIUC, Lenzi was a professor at University of Missouri. He’s also operated and bed-and breakfast and vineyard on his property near Carbondale.
“I’ve been a developer all my life in one way or another,” he said.