The race to represent this district in the U.S. House is between incumbent Republican Mike Bost of Murphysboro and Democrat Ray Lenzi of Makanda.
Mike Bost is running for re-election as the U.S. Representative of Illinois’ 12th District against Democrat challenger Ray Lenzi.
Bost and his wife Tracy live in Murphysboro. They have three children and 11 grandchildren. Bost graduated from Murphysboro High School in 1979 and then enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving until 1982. He worked for 13 years at Bost Trucking Service, first as a driver and then for 10 years as a truck manager. He also served as a firefighter for the Murphysboro Fire Department.
Prior to his election to Congress, Bost served for two decades in the Illinois House of Representatives, rising to the leadership position of House Republican Caucus Chair. In the 116th Congress, Bost serves on the Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and Transportation and Infrastructure committees.
When asked how he would encourage economic stabilization and growth in Southern Illinois, Bost responded that “we had the best economy before COVID” and that, once a cure is found, the country should “continue to do what we were doing. We need to reinvest in the economy.”
Bost said that once the pandemic is over, he wants to ensure the economy is able to provide alternative, “high paying” jobs for those who will be affected by the pending closure of the Baldwin Power Plant.
Raymond Lenzi of Makanda is challenging Mike Bost for the Illinois 12th District U.S. Congressional seat.
Lenzi is a retired professor, economic developer and education administrator. He has a wife, Margaret Flanagan, two children and six grandchildren. He is a first-time candidate who has been involved as a volunteer in many previous political campaigns.
Lenzi says he is seeking office to “move the country forward on jobs, health care and social and economic justice” and “to challenge the country to move in a positive direction and end the corruption of the current administration.”
If elected, Lenzi would like to see expanded health care and “near universality” with lower premiums.
“The Trump administration has failed on the pandemic, the economy, health care and racial justice and healing. Mike Bost has been silent and complicit in this failure,” Lenzi said.
When asked about how he would protect and grow the economy of Southern Illinois, Lenzi, who comes from a coal mining family, said “it’s not about saving coal, it’s about saving coalminers,” in reference to recent news about the closure of the coal-fueled power plant in Baldwin.
Lenzi said he would support a tax credit of up to 50 percent on future wages earned by displaced power workers – not only from Baldwin but from refineries in the northern end of the 12th District.
“The climate crisis is real. It’s science,” Lenzi continued. “What we need is a robust transition plan to clean energy in the next 25 years.”
For a video of the recent candidate forum, click here.