From the Southern Illinoisan: Bost bests Baricevic, Bradshaw

U.S. Rep. Mike Bost has learned a lot in his first term as the 12th District Congressman.

It’s clear from talking to Bost just how much he has learned: From the adjustment to serving counties outside of his Murphysboro home base, like Madison, Monroe and St. Clair, where the majority of the district’s population lives, to balancing committee work with researching issues outside his area of expertise, to learning acronyms for government programs, to finding ways to get federal dollars to pay for repairs to the Len Small Levee after it was damaged during the recent New Year’s flood.

C.J. Baricevic is young and bombastic, brimming with energy and passion. He loves to talk about his experience working as a lawyer in the Metro East specializing in labor law. He boasts that, if elected, he would be one of the only members of Congress with student loan debt, having finished law school at SIU in 2011. He would also be the youngest member of Congress.

We find Baricevic charming. We believe young people have a place in government, especially representing a district that needs desperately to keep the best and brightest students and workers as it bleeds young, talented people thanks to the Rural Brain Drain and Illinois’ state-level budget problems. We appreciate Baricevic’s enthusiasm and passion. We think he has some good ideas, if he lacks specifics. He understands the broad issues in the district, like the need for investment of federal money in infrastructure improvements and the support of coal as well as renewable resources.

But this is not his time. His youth and inexperience show. At the public debate, we cringed when — as the first to speak — Baricevic fiddled with the microphone and said “Hello? Can you hear me?” in the moment it took for his microphone level to come up. The microphone stand wobbled perilously as he messed with it, until he realized his mic was fine and launched into his opening statement. Things like this make him look unpolished next to the experienced Bost, who served in the Illinois House for 20 years before winning the U.S. 12th District seat.

Baricevic will only get better with practice. We want to see him in public service. He is not ready for this seat — yet.

Paula Bradshaw, the perennial Green Party challenger in the 12th District — this is her third time seeking the seat — is a scrappy fighter who challenges both of her opponents to get money out of politics, spend less on the military, invest in renewable energy and public transportation, and advocate for equitable distribution of wealth.

The idealistic Green New Deal includes some ideas we believe in. We would be glad to see people in congress lobbying for different ideas and changing up the Washington demographic. Bradshaw admitted she could not get the Green New Deal passed on her own as one potential representative from the 12th District of Illinois. But her solution is that everyone around the country should elect Green Party representatives — which is unlikely to happen — and elect Jill Stein as president — which is also unlikely. We would like to see more third party representatives in Congress, but they must understand the challenges they will have to overcome when they get there.

Bost sits on three committees: Agriculture, Veterans Affairs and Transportation and Infrastructure. His wealth of knowledge on the most dry, but most essential, issues is what impressed us the most.

Bost is proud of his ability to compromise with Congressmen and Congresswomen across the aisle, and he speaks of the importance of listening to his constituents and understanding what is happening in the district. We were impressed by his spirit of compromise — mostly. He explained that, while he does compromise on many issues, even sometimes angering his supporters who would rather he hold his ground, he said, “there are certain things I don’t compromise on. My religious beliefs. I’m pro-life. I’m not going to make an excuse for it. I am what I am.”

While we respect Rep. Bost’s religion, we hope that in his next term he will respect all the religious beliefs of his constituents, including those that are different from his own, and vote according to an adherence to the Constitution, rather than his own beliefs, which a portion of his constituents do not share.

Overall, the Mike Bost coming back to ask for our vote after one term in Congress is a confident, calm, collected representative, who understands the nuance in negotiation. That’s why we think he deserves another term.

Read more here:

From the Belleville News-Democrat: U.S. Rep. Mike Bost is best for 12th Congressional District

When considering what Washington can do to us or for us, the slew of national issues and debates fades. What really seems to be important is what happens close to home: All politics is local.

To narrow the focus further, our relationship with the federal government comes down to jobs and federal decisions that impact the economy of southwestern Illinois. Scott Air Force Base. Steel. Coal. Agriculture. Transportation.

So in the 12th Congressional District, who best serves those needs? It is our opinion that U.S. Rep. Mike Bost has, and will.

Bost is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, so he understands the military. He was a union Murphysboro firefighter, so he understands labor issues and public service. He is a pilot and worked as a truck driver and truck manager, so he understands business and transportation. He spent 20 years in the Illinois House, famously ranting against a sham pension reform bill that he tossed into the air. Call that passion.

He is in his first term, but landed committee assignments on agriculture, veterans’ affairs and small business. He has been visible and active during his first 20 months in office.

He served this area well during his first term, being a vocal advocate for Scott getting the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. Even when the agency decided to keep its western headquarters in St. Louis, he aggressively pushed back and sought independent investigation of the decision. He worked the issue hard with members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation as well as with his predecessor, former U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, and local Democratic leaders.

He speaks military and intimately understands what makes this area so special and attractive as consolidation looms. As a Marine based at Twentynine Palms he saw locals who held Marines in disdain. He gets the deep respect and support of metro-east residents for the military, and knows that the military sees this area as special — from the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the airmen who retire here.

Bost early on was supporting the Trans Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement with countries bordering the Pacific Ocean. Farmers love the idea for the markets it could open. Steelworkers and manufacturers hate it for the potential for unfair trade.

Bost wants free trade but fair trade, which he no longer believes TPP achieves. After digging into the 15,000-page trade agreement, he said it does not stop currency manipulation, doesn’t do enough to protect U.S. markets and allows another country to join without congressional approval. He reads that as “China,” and that’s a deal breaker.

River transportation is key to the 12th Congressional District, which is the only one in the nation with three navigable waterways. Bost got the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to change its regulations and work to stop the Mississippi from cutting a new channel across a southern Illinois river bend that would have created a rapids and bottled up navigation. He wants a two-year budget process to better plan for transportation needs.

He is a coal miner’s grandson, but he wants clean energy when it can meet our needs. It can’t now, with coal providing 40 percent of our energy. Coal also means small town economies live or die, and it leads to lower energy bills for those on fixed incomes.

C.J. Baricevic is the Democrat challenging Bost. He’s smart, passionate and we like the fact that someone young enough to still be paying his student loan debt is so motivated to enter politics. His biggest hurdle is he is trying to take too big a leap. He needs to learn to govern at the local or state level before jumping to the federal level, where his lack of experience would likely force him to cling to his party line, as we’ve heard from him so far, rather than have the confidence to independently represent the interests of this district and change the polarization in D.C.

Bost has paid his dues and understands bi-partisanship and compromise.

“I am one of 435,” Bost said. “I do the best I can to represent the district for the future of my children and grandchildren — whether that’s addressing the economy at home or aggressors abroad.”

We’re planning to vote for Bost.


MURPYSBORO, IL – The Illinois Farm Bureau today endorses Rep. Mike Bost during an agriculture tour through Perry, Franklin, Williamson, and Jackson counties.  Bost was joined by IFB President Richard Guebert, who presented the endorsement and joined Bost and other farm bureau representatives on the tour.

“Mike Bost listens to and works hard for farmers and has done a terrific job representing the citizens of the 12th Congressional District,” said Illinois Farm Bureau president Richard Guebert.  “Farm Bureau wholeheartedly supports Congressman Bost for reelection.”

“As a member of the House Agriculture Committee, I am proud to have the endorsement of the Illinois Farm Bureau,” said Bost.  “Farming and agriculture represent the backbone of Southern Illinois’ economy.  These hardworking families and businesses have faced growing regulatory pressure from Washington, and it’s important for them to know they have an advocate in their corner fighting for jobs and economic growth.  As long as I’m in Congress, our farmers will have a fighter on their side.”

ALTON, IL – The Illinois Education Association (IEA) today endorsed Rep. Mike Bost for re-election due to his strong record in support of public education in Metro East and Southern Illinois.
“Mike Bost has never hesitated to be a strong voice for our schools and students in the Metro East and Southern Illinois,” said Kathi Griffin, IEA vice president.  “He supports empowering parents and teachers at the local level and worked in a bipartisan manner to pass the Every Student Succeeds Act.  At a time when both parties seem to talk past each other instead of working together, we know we can count on Mike Bost to cut through the partisanship in Washington and put the needs of his district first. Congressman Mike Bost has been so effective as a member of Congress for our students that the IEA/NEA has given him the grade of an A.”
“I am proud to have the endorsement of the Illinois Education Association,” said Bost.  “As a father and a grandfather, there’s no better investment we can make than in the future of our young people.  But if we expect them to reach their full potential, we must first empower our teachers and education professionals, the dedicated men and women who help build a brighter future from first period to the closing bell.”
Illinois Education Association is an association of more than 130,000 members composed of Illinois elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty and staff, educational support professionals, retired educators and college students preparing to become teachers.

MURPHYSBORO, IL – Rep. Mike Bost announced today that West Frankfort mayor Tom Jordan has endorsed his re-election bid.  Jordan, a Democrat, highlighted Bost’s commitment to working across the aisle and bringing both parties together as reasons for his endorsement.

“I may be a Democrat, but I’m voting for Mike Bost for Congress,” said Jordan.  “Through a lifetime of public service Mike has never hesitated to reach across the aisle when it’s right for his district.  We need more leaders like Mike Bost to cut through the partisanship and fix the mess in Washington.  That’s why I am proud to endorse him for re-election.”

“I am happy to have the endorsement of Mayor Jordan because he understands we must work together to clean up Congress,” said Bost.  “If I am blessed to continue to serve, I will continue to put the needs of Southern Illinois ahead of the partisan political games in Washington.”

Bost traveled to West Frankfort on Tuesday, where he visited the Franklin County Senior Services facility.


Murphysboro, IL – U.S. Rep. Mike Bost released the fourth television advertisement in his re-election campaign for Illinois’ 12th Congressional District, titled “Miner.” The ad, narrated by Coal Miner’s Movement founder Bob Sandidge, highlights Bost’s efforts to stand up for coal miners and the coal industry in Southern Illinois.
“When Hillary Clinton said she wants to put coal miners ‘out of business,’ we should take her at her word,” said Bost.  “She and her liberal allies in Washington have launched a War on Coal that will decimate an industry already struggling to survive.  My grandfather was head of the local coal miners’ union; mining is in my blood.  As long as I’m Southern Illinois’ representative in Congress, I will continue to fight for these families who are under attack.”
To view “Miner,” please click here.
Transcript, 30 seconds:
BOB SANDIDGE:   “Through the last seven years or so, the Obama administration’s war on coal has all but killed the mining industry. It’s devastated the community.  People out of jobs and out of work. It’s very important to us, here down in the trenches, that we have somebody in Washington that understands coal. And Mike Bost is definitely the man for the job. The record shows that Mike voted 100% of the time for coal. Without someone in DC like Mike, we don’t have any hope. Mike Bost is fighting for the coal industry.”
BOST:  “I’m Mike Bost and I approve this message.”

MURPHYSBORO, IL – Rep. Mike Bost announced today that Cairo mayor Tyrone Coleman has endorsed his re-election to Congress.  Coleman, an independent, cited Bost’s commitment to strengthening Alexander County and repairing the Len Small levee as reasons for his support.

“As the mayor of Cairo, I have worked extensively with Mike Bost on our community’s recovery from the New Year’s flood,” said Coleman.  “As an independent voter, I appreciate that he doesn’t care which party you’re from; he only cares about helping people.  Mike works hard and he’s been there for us, and for that reason I am proud to endorse him for re-election.”

“Mayor Coleman has been a leader for a city beset by hard times,” said Bost.  “I appreciate his support and look forward to continuing our work together to strengthen the city of Cairo and ensure its residents receive the help they need.  Mayor Coleman and I understand this isn’t about politics, it’s about helping people.”

Bost traveled to Alexander County on Monday to visit with Coleman and tour the levee.


MURPHYSBORO, IL – Rep. Mike Bost announced today he has received an “A rating” and an endorsement from the National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund.

“Mike Bost is an unwavering Second Amendment advocate with a strong record of standing up for the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens,” said Chris Cox, the NRA’s Legislative Director.  “While serving in the Illinois House of Representatives, Mike tirelessly championed pro-gun legislation, including the right of Illinoisans to carry a concealed firearm. Most recently, Bost stood up to the Obama administration’s efforts to push their gun control agenda. We can trust Mike Bost to defend our constitutional freedoms.”

“As a gun owner and a sportsman, I am proud to receive the endorsement of the NRA’s Political Victory Fund,” said Bost.  “Law-abiding gun owners in Southern Illinois understand the important role that firearms play in keeping families safe and helping preserve our region’s proud sporting heritage.”

Bost Campaign Ad Touts Fight for Farmers
Murphysboro, IL – U.S. Rep. Mike Bost released a new television ad today in his re-election campaign for Illinois’ 12th Congressional District, titled “Farmer.”  The 30-second spot features St. Clair County farmer Dave Tiedemann discussing Bost’s fight to roll back Washington’s overregulation of Southern Illinois farmers. Bost is a champion for agriculture and has recently been endorsed by the national Farm Bureau.
“Washington bureaucrats and the Obama administration have proposed and implemented hundreds regulations on agriculture, threatening the livelihoods of our family farmers, ranchers, and producers,” said Bost.  “I am proud to be a champion for Southern Illinois agriculture because they represent the backbone of our economy.”
TRANSCRIPT (30 seconds):
DAVE TIEDEMANN: “My name is Dave Tiedemann, grain and livestock farmer. Been doing that basically all my life. The regulations can be very frustrating.  We have bureaucrats saying whether I can plant corn or not. Constant regulations impeding our progress. It’s great to have a voice like Mike Bost in Washington as our Congressman.  He knows the regulations, he knows our issues, he knows small business, he knows farming. He’s been there for us and he listens to us. Mike Bost is a fighter.”
BOST:  “I’m Mike Bost and I approve this message.”