Retired UAW leader plans run for Congress against LaHood


Illinois Correspondent

Peoria, IL – Mark Haasis, retired national organizing director for the United Auto Workers, is circulating petitions to run in the Illinois 18th Congressional District, where he would face incumbent Darin LaHood.

LaHood (R-Peoria) won the seat in a special election in 2015 and is seeking his third two-year term in next year’s election.

“I don’t think he should just have a clear path to another term,” Haasis, 66, told Bernard Schoenburg of the Gatehouse Newspapers in an interview. “I think the district can do better.”

Haasis was in the 1971 class of the old Griffin High School in Springfield and got a political science degree in 1975 from the University of Illinois. He moved to Peoria in 1978 when he got a job at a Caterpillar Inc. diesel engine plant in Mossville.

He became a union steward there but was laid off in the early 1980s. He worked for the city of Peoria for more than eight years and then was hired by the Mitsubishi plant in Normal. He moved in 1998 to the UAW staff and retired last year.

From 2007 to 2010, he was coordinator of the union’s political program in Illinois and helped choose which candidates to back for state and federal offices. Since then, he worked in Detroit but kept his Peoria residence.

The 18th is strongly Republican. President Donald Trump won the district in 2016 by more than 26 percentage points, and LaHood has ample funding – more than $2 million.

LaHood is the son of former U.S. Secretary of Transportation and seven-term Congressman Ray LaHood. He is considered even more conservative than his father.

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