BELLEVILLE — Freshman Congressman Bill Enyart, D-Belleville, officially announced Tuesday morning he is running for a second term as a U.S. member from the 12th Congressional District.
Enyart, 64, made his announcement in the foyer of Belleville City Hall, to a gathering of St. Clair County Democratic leaders and well-wishers.
Enyart, a former Army two-star general who retired 17 months ago as commander of the Illinois National Guard, told his listeners his entire adult life "has been mission-focused, whether it was fighting floods, protecting citizens ... I have been focused on getting the mission done."
A year ago he asked the people of Southern Illinois for their votes, he said.
"I am asking for your vote again so that I can continue that mission," Enyart said.
Enyart declared that he has but one mission: "To ensure that every child of Southern Illinois has the opportuntiy to learn, to work, to succeed," Enyart said. "Thank you very much."
Enyart's announcement Tuesday took place one day after political candidates could begin filing election applications and petitions with the Illinois State Board of Elections.
His official annoucement he was seeking re-election hardly came as a surprise to anyone.
The Belleville lawyer has been steadily filling his campaign chest during the past 10 months. In July, Enyart reported raising nearly $421,000, with more than half, $219,800, coming from political action committees, Federal Election Commission records show.
Since entering the GOP-led U.S. House 10 months ago, Enyart earned seats on two committees with a major effect on the 12th District: armed services, which writes budgets for defense projects, including Scott Air Force Base, in Mascoutah; and agriculture panel, which writes the budget for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which commands a nearly $100 billion-per-year budget, 80 percent of which is spent on the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, which is more commonly known as S.N.A.P.
Enyart touted his seats on the armed services and agriculture committee as major achievements as a congressman so far.
"It was important for me to get on those committees," he said. "I worked hard to get on those committees."
As the only general officer to serve in the U.S. Congress, "I, as they say, punch above my weight on the committee," he said. "So I think those are all factors."
Enyart so far doesn't face any opposition in the Democratic primary election set for March 18.
Michael Bost, a Republican state representative from Murphysboro, is the only announced GOP candidate for the November general election. The 12th District encompasses 12 counties, running from Alton, in Madison County, to Cairo in the state's southern tip.