Democrat Mark Haasis is challenging Darin LaHood for the right to represent the 18th Congressional District.
Haasis is a retired United Auto Workers national organizing director. Born in Springfield, he worked for Caterpillar, the city of Peoria, and Mitsubishi before moving up the ranks into UAW leadership. He now lives in Peoria.
He said LaHood has aligned himself closely with President Donald Trump and is failing the district on some key topics.
"On some specific issues, such as the environment, healthcare, Social Security, some very important issues that affect a lot of people, Congressman LaHood's record is not good, in my opinion," he said.
Haasis said he supports a single-payer healthcare option and believes addressing climate change is a top priority.
He's an advocate of a "just transition" for coal workers affected by power plant closures to make sure they receive adequate job retraining to help them land on firm economic footing.
He said he has some concerns about protections for workers in the USMCA treaty endorsed by Trump to replace NAFTA. Haasis said he supports the ongoing impeachment inquiry and finds some of the president's actions disturbing.
While Haasis acknowledged his campaign war chest doesn't come close to LaHood's and he lacks the Republican's name recognition, he said his union leadership background make him a solid choice.
"If people have an open mind, look at our backgrounds, look at my background of representing people, of helping solve problems, of coming to solutions, which in some cases, were necessarily compromises," he said.
The 18th Congressional District is traditionally a safe Republican district. LaHood has served since Rep. Aaron Schock's resignation in 2015. The district stretches from Quincy in the west to parts of Bloomington-Normal in the east.
The general election is November 3, 2020.