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Local

Hastert's son announces run for Congress, wants to be part of 'next generation of leadership'

ELBURN – Ethan Hastert has announced he’ll run for his father’s old seat in Congress.

Hastert, 31, said Monday that he’s forming a committee to begin his campaign and fundraising for the 14th District Congressional seat. He’s the first candidate to officially announce a run at the seat in 2010.

Although he’s never run for office, Hastert, a Republican, said he’s been around the process through his father’s political career. Dennis Hastert represented the 14th District from 1987 to 2007 – serving as Speaker of the House for about eight years of his tenure.

Bill Foster, D-Batavia, won a special election and last year’s general election to fill his spot. Foster said Monday that he hasn’t decided if he’ll run for re-election. A spokeswoman released a statement Monday in response to Ethan Hastert’s announcement:

“Whether he is voting to cut taxes for 95 percent of working district residents, delivering nearly $64 million to 14th District schools or demonstrating he is concerned about paying down the national debt by voting against the Democratic Party's budget, Congressman Bill Foster is focused on working to solve the problems our families face and get our economy moving again – he is not thinking about elections right now.”

Ethan Hastert, an attorney, said he wants to be part of the “next generation of leadership” in the district.

“Generally, what I’ve been hearing is that people are not happy, not satisfied with our current leadership in Washington,” he said. “Quite frankly, people are ready for the next generation of leadership.”

Hastert said voters want a younger perspective and with that sometimes comes less experience with holding public office.

“If you want a 30-year-old to step up and run in some of these races," he said, "you have to recognize they’re not going to have the normal resume.”

Hastert also said Foster does not represent the “values” of the people in the district.

In deciding to run, Hastert said he spoke with local political leaders and elected officials in the area, including County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay, R-St. Charles. McConnaughay could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon.

In April, when rumors circled of Hastert vying for the seat, Kane County Republican leaders were positive about Hastert being a candidate, but wondered if Congress was the right first step.

Hastert and his wife, Heidi, live in Elburn with their 2 1/2-year-old son, Jack.

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