In the final stretch before Election Day, the two Democratic hopefuls in the 14th Congressional District primary have two very different messages.
Small businessman John J. Hosta, 54, of Spring Grove, has been emphasizing protecting U.S. industry by limiting foreign trade and encouraging manufacturing job growth. His opponent, Dennis Anderson, 63, of Gurnee, is stressing that constituents need someone besides Republican incumbent Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Winfield.
Hultgren, who defeated Anderson for re-election in 2012, will compete in November against the winner of the Democratic primary. Election Day is March 18, with early voting is underway at select locations in DeKalb County.
The 14th District includes the eastern part of DeKalb County, including the cities of Sycamore, Sandwich, and Somonauk. It also includes parts of Kane, DuPage, Will, McHenry, Lake and Kendall counties.
Anderson, who is retired from his role providing administrative support for cancer researchers, lists economic recovery and job creation as his main priority for the district. He said groups from the private and public sectors could come together to form business incubator partnerships. In addition, he would work to strengthen the district’s transportation infrastructure.
For Hosta, the economy and transportation are key issues, but his main goal is protecting U.S. industries. He said some of the recent layoffs in business are a direct result of 20 years of poor foreign trade policies. He also criticized the current Farm Bill proposal for not addressing a USDA decision to allow Chinese poultry to be imported.
Hosta said that he likes Anderson, but he thinks that he is more business-minded and aggressive than his opponent. Hosta started his custom bedding business in 1987 for interior designers, and saw firsthand the effects of a struggling economy.
Financial incentives could play a role in bringing more manufacturing jobs to the U.S. and filling up vacant buildings in the area, Hosta said.
“This is how you get the economy going again,” Hosta said. “I would fight tooth and nail to get Whirlpool here [to the district].”
Meanwhile, Anderson also touted a Washington outsider stance, adding that he’s not a career politician. He also emphasized that constituents deserved a representatives that reflected their values rather than repeatedly voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act and funding abstinence in sexual education.
“You need someone who is going to focus on things that are primary importance to the residents of the 14th District,” Anderson said.
Anderson said he is the better choice in the March 18 primary because he considers himself a pragmatist open to dialogue. He said he has a broader concern and understanding than Hosta of the issues facing 14th District residents.
“We have too many people in Congress driving by ideology,” Anderson said. “I’m willing to talk with anyone about any issue.”
DeKalb County early voting locations
• Ballots may be cast from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; from noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; and from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, through March 15.
• Voters from any precinct in the county may vote at the election office in Sycamore or in the Blackhawk Annex of the Holmes Student Center, 340 Carroll Ave. at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. Grace period voting is available at those locations.
• North county precincts in Genoa, Kingston, Franklin, Mayfield and South Grove townships can vote at the Kirkland Village Hall, 511 W. Main St.
• South county precincts for Clinton, Paw Paw, Sandwich, Shabbona, Somonauk, Squaw Grove and Victor townships can vote at the Sandwich Fire Station, 310 E. Railroad St.