Saturday, October 29, 2005

Scheurer Considering Run Against Bean As Independent

Lindenhurst Resident: Candidate in 2004 Democratic Primary

By Ralph Zahorik
The News Sun

U.S. Rep. Melissa Bean, D-Barrington Township, might have three opponents in the November 2006 election.

Bill Scheurer of Lindenhurst, an anti-Iraq War activist who ran against Bean in the 2004 Democratic primary, is considering another run as an independent or third-party candidate.

Scheurer has said his campaign will focus on the war, universal health care, balancing the budget and ending dependency on foreign oil. He also hopes to capitalize on organized labor's disappointment over Bean's support for the Central American Free Trade Agreement.

Scheurer recently won support from one union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which has contributed $5,000 to his campaign. He said five other "large unions" are considering supporting him but he declined to name them.

Scheurer called Bean's vote for CAFTA and other measures "a betrayal of working people."

Other "anti-worker" legislation Bean supported were the bankruptcy reform bill, the estate tax repeal, the "Enron/Halliburton" energy bill and the Patriot Act, he said.

Bean "is focused on her job and she has already demonstrated the responsiveness and effectiveness she promised to bring to the position," said Brian Herman, a spokesman for Bean.

"She has consistently voted in the best interest of her district and will continue to be a fiscally conservative and socially moderate advocate for her her constituents," he said.

Bean was the only Democratic member of Congress in Illinois voting for CAFTA. A total of 15 Democrats nationwide supported the trade agreement.

The Chicago Federation of Labor and the United Steel Workers of America organized pickets at Bean's Schaumburg office after the CAFTA vote. The Northeastern Illinois Federation of Labor, the Gurnee-based central labor body for AFL-CIO union locals in Lake and McHenry counties, dropped her as their "person-of-the-year" honoree after the CAFTA vote.

"We feel the need to support someone now who will look after the needs of working Americans in Congress," said Jim Brown, Midwest vice president of the Machinists, in a statement. "Bill Scheurer looks to be that guy for 2006."

The Machinists donated about $15,000 to help Bean defeat longtime Republican Congressman Phillip Crane last year. Brown has called Bean's vote on CAFTA, and other votes "a slap in the face."

"This union represents a lot of hard-working men and women ... These are the people I stand with," Scheurer said. "I will never take their money — and their blood, sweat and tears — in my campaign, and then turn around when I get to Congress and vote against them when they need me most.

"That is what the incumbent did," he said. "She rode into Congress on their backs and now has no further use for them. And it's not just labor. She has let down a lot of people with her bad votes."

Unions gave Bean more than $200,000 in her 2004 campaign to oust Crane. To date, she has reported raising $1.1 million for her 2006 campaign.

Six Republicans are seeking the GOP nomination to run against Bean. They are: Kenneth Arnold, a Gurnee businessman and political activist; state Rep. Robert Churchill, R-Lake Villa; Kathy Salvi of Wauconda, a lawyer and wife of former state legislator Al Salvi; Teresa Bartels of Countryside Lake near Mundelein, chair of the University Center of Lake County; Aaron Lincoln of Wauconda, a former attorney with the Department of Defense; and former investment banker David McSweeney of Barrington.

The primary election is March 21.

Scheurer got 22 percent of the Democratic vote when he ran in the Democratic primary against Bean last year. He spent little and had only a few volunteers. Scheurer ran as a Democrat against state Rep. JoAnn Osmond, R-Antioch, last November, receiving 42 percent of the vote.

Scheurer, speaking at a Letter Carriers Union meeting in Gurnee on Thursday, said his campaign will focus on his opposition to the war in Iraq, supporting universal health care, balancing the federal budget and "ending our dependency of foreign oil."

In November 2006, "Two candidates will be out there after the Republican vote and one candidate will be after the Democratic vote," he said.

Two of Scheurer's four children have served in the military, in the Army and Marines, and have served in Okinawa, Kuwait and Iraq. His 26-year-old son is stationed in Iraq with his National Guard unit.

Scheurer and his wife, Randi, are members of Military Families Speak Out, a peace group.

Scheurer, 55, has degrees in religious studies and law and has worked as a lay minister, an attorney and a business owner. He described himself as a "Catholic/Mormon." He said he was CEO and principal shareholder of an Internet technology company, for about 17 years.

He currently is a writer, editor of the non-profit Internet publication called Peace Majority Report and is involved with Hourglass Books, a non-profit publish-on-demand enterprise.

The Scheurers have lived in Lindenhurst for 27 years.


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