ROCK ISLAND – A second Republican has announced he will run for the 17th Congressional District seat held by U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Moline.
Bill Fawell, 63, of Galena, a real estate broker, wants to take another shot at the seat, but this time he plans to put his name on the ballot. He declared himself a write-in Libertarian candidate in 2014, but lessons from that experience have him running as a Republican.
“I learned exactly what Ron Paul found out – if you want to make a change in government, especially in Illinois, you have to go with the two major parties,” Fawell said.
He has compared his political leanings to Paul, the former Texas congressman who ran for president once as a Libertarian, and twice as a GOP candidate.
Fawell wound up with 16 votes in 2014, as Bustos took nearly 56 percent of the vote in defeating Republican Bobby Schilling a second time.
“You need 698 signatures as a Republican, and as a Libertarian I needed 24,000, and probably more to survive a challenge,” Fawell said. “By the time you get around to campaigning, it’s too late.”
Fawell first must defeat Galesburg businessman Mark Kleine in the March primary for the right to challenge the incumbent. Kleine has no prior political experience, but is selling his business experience as a plus in carrying out his agenda of cutting government spending and creating jobs.
In February, Bustos announced she would seek a fourth term in Congress, putting a stop to pervasive rumors about a possible run for governor.
Fawell said his desire to run is driven by two bills in the House, that if enacted, would change America.
“These critical bills would change the daily operating structure of the federal government, and give control of government back to the people,” he said.
One of those bills is the Regulation from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act, which supporters believe is an important piece of regulatory reform. The REINS Act would require Congress to approve new major regulations and review those already in place.
The second piece of legislation on Fawell’s radar is the Federal Transparency Act. That bill would require the Government Accountability Office to complete audits of the Federal Reserve Board and Federal Reserve banks within a year.
The other part of Fawell’s “Libertarian legislation” is the institution of term limits.
“Most of our laws are written by lobbyists,” Fawell said. “Whether you voted for Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump, the 2016 election was about Americans voting against the system.”
Illinois’ 17th Congressional District covers Carroll, Fulton, Henderson, Henry, Jo Daviess, Knox, Mercer, Rock Island, Stephenson, Warren and Whiteside counties.
Parts of Peoria, Tazewell and Winnebago also are included.