On Nov. 9, the day after the general election, Carl Spoerer’s wife, Kara, had a tear in her eye over President Donald Trump’s victory.
He then began doing research into his congressman’s record and had concerns after efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. He also was troubled by the number of abandoned factories in downstate Illinois.
Spoerer, a Mahomet resident, then decided he would run for Congress. He hopes to run against U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville.
“The reason I’m in is because there are people out there who need better representation,” Spoerer said. “You really empathize with them, and you care for them. And you have for compassion for them.”
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Spoerer, who is self-employed and runs telecommunications company Rural Country Marketing Corp., hopes to win the Democratic nomination to run in the Illinois 15th District, which is currently represented by Shimkus.
The 15th District stretches from Collinsville to the Indiana border, and from the Kentucky border to north of Interstate 74. It includes Effingham, Charleston, Okawville, Carlyle and Breese, among other towns.
According to the Federal Elections Commission, Kevin Gaither, of Charleston, and Anthony March, of Danville, also are seeking the nomination to run as the Democrat against Shimkus.
Spoerer said winning would be difficult.
“Is it going to be easy? No, it’s not going to be easy,” said Spoerer, who has never run for public office before. “Are the odds against us? Yes, the odds are against us, but it can be done.”
“We need to get back to messaging about the things that are hitting people in the Midwest on a day-in and day-out business — which is their jobs, the quality of education their kids are or are not getting in the schools,” Spoerer added. “Getting broadband in these rural communities would be huge for the schools, but also for the business owners that want to operate on a national or international basis.”
He said the issues important to him are jobs, helping people get small-business loans, filling empty buildings in small towns with small businesses, fixing the Affordable Care Act and protecting unions.
He said he supports a $15-an-hour minimum wage.
“Corporations are taking way too much of the pie. The stock market is going through the roof, all-time high, all-time high and all-time high, and yet corporations can’t afford to pay their employees so they could have a living wage to pay for their family’s housing, meals, schools,” Spoerer said. “The corporations need to be put back in place. They need to become a part of the community as opposed to just taking from the community. They need to understand that their role is ... (to) have a social responsibility beyond the pure profit motivation, which they’ve all gone to.”