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Republicans lining up in 11th District

Grundy Board member Balkema among those running

Published: Friday, Aug. 2, 2013 9:12 a.m. CDT

(MCT) — State Rep. Darlene Senger of Naperville announced her bid for Congress Monday, joining three other Republicans aiming to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Bill Foster.

Senger made her an- nouncement on the steps of the Naperville Municipal Center where she once served as a city councilwoman.

“The main goal is better jobs and more opportunity … and it’s only through smaller government, lower taxes and less regulation that we can get there,” Senger said after the event.

The 58-year-old from Naperville has worked in the financial sector and served on the Naperville City Council from 2002 until 2008 when she was elected to the Illinois House where she now serves on a bipartisan committee aimed at working on pension reform.

Three other Republicans — Ian Bayne, Chris Balkema and Craig Robbins — also have filed to run in the 11th District which spans the west and southwest suburbs including Naperville, Aurora and Joliet. They will face off in a primary on March 18, 2014. The winner will move on to the Nov. 4 general election.

Bayne, 39, of Aurora, owns several small businesses including investigation and real estate appraisal companies and also has a syndicated radio show. He said his goals are to repeal President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act and also to remove restrictions on private individuals. He has previously worked on campaigns in Massachusetts, but has not held elected office.

“As a small business owner I believe I know better about the needs of the taxpayer than someone who has spent years sitting in a government board room trying to figure out fake government numbers,” he said.

Balkema, 42, of Channahon, is a purchasing manager at Caterpillar Inc. and serves on the Grundy County Board. He said his top priority is improving the business climate so jobs will stay in the U.S.

“We’re the most expensive place on the planet to do business and I’ve seen firsthand how businesses … have difficulty competing overseas,” he said.

Information on Robbins was not immediately available and he could not be reached.

The 11th District seat is currently held by Rep. Bill Foster, a Democrat who unseated longtime Republican Rep. Judy Biggert last fall. Foster, 57, is a scientist and businessman from Naperville and has filed paperwork to run for re-election. His representatives released a statement on his behalf Monday.

“Congressman Foster is focused on the job he was elected to do – serving the people of the 11th District,” the statement reads. “Throughout his term, Congressman Foster will continue to focus on creating jobs and opportunity for the people of the 11th District and passing commonsense immigration reform that secures our borders, improves our current immigration system and provides a path to citizenship for immigrants who are willing to work hard and play by the rules.”

Foster leads the pack in fundraising thus far, bringing in about $275,000 in the three-month period that went through June 30, adding to the nearly $190,000 he previously had in his campaign checkbook, according to Federal Election Commission reports. FEC records show he began July with $372,271 in campaign cash, but also has a campaign debt of more than $1.2 million, almost exclusively of money he loaned himself for past campaigns.

Balkema’s fundraising efforts netted $64,591 and his records show $44,662 on hand as of July 1, while Robbins raised $10,000 and still has most of it in the bank. Bayne raised $2,650 and spent about that much.

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Tribune reporter Rick Pearson contributed.

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©2013 the Chicago Tribune

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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