A longtime Illinois state lawmaker says he's running for the congressional seat held by U.S. Rep. Bill Enyart, D-Belleville.
State Rep. Mike Bost of Murphysboro won't seek re-election in the state's 115th District and instead will pursue the 12th Congressional District seat. The Republican, who has been a state lawmaker for 18 years, made a formal announcement Monday afternoon at the St. Clair County Courthouse in Belleville.
"People ask me why I am doing this," Bost said of his decision to run for Congress. "Like a lot of other people I am disappointed with the actions coming out of Washington these days.
"I want a brighter future for my children and grandchildren," Bost said. "I want to return to a country where everyone has an opportunity to succeed."
Bost gained national attention this year with a paper-tossing rant on the floor of the House over pension reform. A spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Monday called Bost "Meltdown Mike," and said Bost's tactic won't work in Washington.
Enyart was elected to the seat in November and announced in May he'll be seeking another two-year term.
The 12th District stretches from the metro-east to the state's southernmost tip.
O'Fallon Mayor Gary Graham, who attended Bost's announcement, said he's worked closely with Bost during his 16 years in office. And he said he thinks Bost will make a great candidate.
"He's got a proven record of public service without any scandals," Graham said. "He's a small business owner who knows about payroll and about all the regulations at the state and federal level. And he is a veteran who knows what Scott Air Force Base means to this region."
Bost will have competition in the Republican primary from Doug Bucshon, an Illinois Army National Guard veteran and former sports journalist.
Bost, a former Marine and a business owner, has served in the legislature since 1995.
"I understand the value of balancing a budget, meeting a payroll and making sure we don't overspend. That's something I've dealt with during my time in public service and as a business owner, and also in our household," Bost said. "The policies coming from Washington are hurting Southern Illinois families."
He added, "If we can get Washington out of the way and give our job creators some stability and the opportunity to succeed, then we will see our economy turn around."
He enlisted in the Marine Corps after high school, serving from 1979 to 1982, and was honorably discharged as a corporal.
"The cuts to our military under the current administration remind me a lot of when I entered the Marine Corps during the Carter years. Our military was downsized, we had not been making the necessary investments for our military personnel, and our foreign policy was weak," Bost said. "The one area I have always believed our federal government must be fully invested in national defense. A strong, modern military will always be a top priority of mine."
Last year, Bost made national news with his rant on the House floor over pension reform. He tossed a stack of papers into the air while complaining about the power of House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Chicago Democrat. One YouTube video of the tirade has been viewed more than 400,000 times.
Brandon Lopez, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Monday: "With his history of meltdowns and explosions in Springfield, Meltdown Mike would fit in well with the extremist fringe in Congress that promotes gridlock and obstructionism at every turn. Unfortunately, his radical behavior and explosive personality won't do anything to help Illinois' middle class families. Meltdown Mike might beaSpringfieldcareer politician, but his meltdowns wouldn't cut it in a second-grade classroom."