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Rush and Peloquin Face Off for 1st Congressional District in November

The longtime Republican Blue Island mayor will challenge the nearly-just-as-longtime Democrat congressman for one of the most disparate congressional districts in Illinois.

Bobby Rush and Don Peloquin will be the two choices for the broad array of Illinois residents living among the new 1st Congressional District.

The two will be vying for a territory that stretches from the inner-city through blue-collar suburbs out to the conservative suburbs and into rural Will County.

The district starts just north of Chicago's Bronzeville community and extends out to Beverly and into several towns west of I-57, such as Evergreen Park, Oak Lawn, Palos Heights, Alsip, Blue Island, Oak Forest, Midlothian and through Tinley Park, Orland Park, Orland Hills, Mokena, New Lenox, Frankfort and several other towns before hitting a rural southwest boundary in Elwood.

Peloquin, 61, has served as Blue Island mayor since 1985 after four years spent as alderman. During his time in office, he worked to keep the former St. Francis Hospital open as MetroSouth Medical Center in 2008. Peloquin is co-owner and president of Hickey Memorial Chapel.

Peloquin favors repealing the Affordable Health Care Act and has said government should be minimally involved with private sector business.

“We're gonna go to Bobby Rush and say, 'Here's what we're gonna do. Can you do better?' He's had 20 years," Peloquin said at his election-day after party.

Peloquin said the next few months will be about building from the ground up on the issue everyone in the diverse district has in common. Two of the projects on his mind Tuesday as the votes were steadily mounting were building a south suburban airport and completing the interchange at I-57 and I-294, both of which would help link the region together and provide jobs, he said.

Peloquin won against two other candidates who campaigned for the Republican seat.

Rush, 65, has held the seat since 1992. Born in Albany, Georgia, Rush and his family moved to Chicago’s West Side when he was 8 months old. During his time in the congressional seat, Rush has supported the Telecommunications Act of 1996 under President Bill Clinton, while more recently he supported the Affordable Health Care Act and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Rush is also an honorably discharged Army veteran and holds a master’s degree in theology. He claims to have brought over a billion dollars to the 1st District.

Rush won the Democrat slot for the November election against five other Democrat candidates. Before all the votes were in, he was on a plane to Washington and could not be reached for comment.

Patch Reporter Jesse Marx contributed to this report.

I vote, do you? March 24, 2012 at 03:11 AM
just wondering how a man who supposedly "endangered the health of residents" has held office for 20-plus years? maybe all the residents of your community don't feel the same way you do, or at least the ones that actually vote don't! if you want to change your world for the better, you have to get involved. Sure its a lot of work, and maybe there are some risks, but the people that make a difference are 100% of the time the ones who actually do get involved, instead of just looking on and complaining. i wonder how many of you nay-sayers even bothered to vote in the primary........if you are not happy with things, get up and do something about it, thats what every one of these congressional hopefuls are doing.
Dennis Robaugh March 24, 2012 at 03:17 PM
John Bruno, The fact that Bobby Rush was a Black Panther is well known and has been mentioned several times on the Patch sites in the 1st District, from the stories about how redistricting reshapes the 1st District to the emergence of various challengers. It's been the subject of multiple comment threads among Patch users, too.
Mayor Hart March 24, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Concerned Citizen, your comments may or may not be valid, but one thing is clear, either you know nothing about Blue Island or have never been there. There is no Main Street. It's called Western Avenue, or even Uptown. Check a map and get back to me.
New to NL April 11, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Concerned Citizen, you keep mentioning that Peloquin doesn't live in the city he is mayor which is completely false. He does live in Blue Island and has for as long as I have know him (25+ years), I have been there many times. Get your facts straight! Where does he live then if not Blue Island?
nick April 24, 2012 at 02:37 AM
Bobby Rush, many people wish he was there with Fred, on Dec. 4th, 1969 "Fred Hampton (August 30, 1948 – December 4, 1969) was an African-American activist and deputy chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party (BPP). He was killed in his apartment during a raid by a tactical unit of the Cook County, Illinois State's Attorney's Office (SAO), in conjunction with the Chicago Police Department (CPD) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)" "In November 1969, Hampton traveled to California, and met with the National BPP leadership at UCLA. It was there that they offered him a position on the Central Committee as the chief of staff, and asked him to serve as the national spokesman for the BPP. While Hampton was out of town two Chicago police officers, John J. Gilhooly and Frank G. Rappaport, were killed in a gun battle with Panthers on the night of November 13. A total of 9 police officers were shot"

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