This article covers all congressional candidates in Illinois for the upcoming midterm election this November. To learn more about Sustainable Politician Project, read our full intro here.
U.S. House of Representatives
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Bobby Rush (D) – Incumbent – Rank: Good
Bobby serves on the Energy Subcommittee and therefore is very invested in our country’s energy policies. He’s used his power in Congress to support renewable energy and increasing energy efficiency, while also ensuring that environmental regulations (such as the Clean Air and Water Acts) are enforced. He believes the EPA should be fully funded and continue to enforce important regulations that work to protect the environment and public health.
Additionally, Bobby has concerns for low-income communities. He understands that these communities (and communities of color) take on more of the environmental burdens than other American communities. Bobby points out the research from a 2002 Clean the Air report found that 68% of all Blacks “live within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant,” which has lead to an increase of asthma in communities of color. For these reasons, Bobby is focused on decreasing pollution, and especially addressing the way environmental hazards disproportionately affect certain communities. However, his LCV score is 79%, which we’d like to see rise if he is re-elected this term.
Jimmy Lee Tillman II (R) – Rank: Unknown
We were unable to find information regarding Jimmy’s sustainable platform.
Thomas Rudbeck (Independent) – Rank: Strong
District 1’s third-party candidate supports the EPA backed by science and fact when it comes to creating policies and enforcing regulations. His approach to policy focuses on a simple principle: “If your pollution leaves your property…you have, by your own actions, forfeited your rights to not be regulated by the government.” We’re a fan of this approach because it allows industries to hold themselves responsible before government regulation steps in, for example, through the use of carbon capture. Thomas also supports developing Chicago into a city for green technology and clean energy, as well as replacing water pipes reaching 60 years old.
While Robin does not discuss too many environmental issues on her campaign site, she does address agriculture. Robin is big on family farmers and supporting smaller farms rather than factory farms. This is a big deal because factory farms produce more than they can handle sustainably, and all forms of wastes pollute areas nearby. Additionally, Robin supports environmental regulations that ensure air and water quality and push for renewable energy. She also has a great 97% LCV score (source).
David Merkle (R) – Rank: Weak
A political courage test shows David’s support for greenhouse gas regulations, but he does not believe federal funding of renewable energies will improve how our country handles climate change. Instead, he finds that involving the government in renewable energy developments will slow the process (source).
Daniel Lipinski (D) – Incumbent – Rank: Strong
As a member of House Climate Solutions Caucus, Daniel supports a lot of the big-green-ticket items on our list. This includes his support for renewable energy (specifically, through the use of competitions) and reducing harmful emissions (he a fan of the Clean Power Plan). He opposes rollbacks and funding slashes to the EPA and its regulations, and disapproves of the country’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement.
Additionally, Daniel has given his attention to protecting the Great Lakes, working to restore the lakes and its ecosystems from the pollution they’ve endured, and also work to prevent further pollutions. He also recognizes the threats of invasive species in the Lakes and has supported legislation to address the Asian Carp crisis, an invasive species throwing off the ecosystem balance in the Lakes. Plus, Daniel’s track record is pretty good, with a 90% LCV score (source).
Arthur Jones (R) – Rank: Weak
While Arthur’s campaign site does not discuss environmental issues, a political courage test shows some support for funding renewable energy developments and regulations for greenhouse gas emissions. However, he also states that he does not believe climate change can lead to catastrophic events and warns against going over “a certain amount” of regulations (source).
Jesus Garcia (D) – Rank: Weak
On his campaign site, Jesus states that he wants to develop “green technologies,” but he does not elaborate on this.
Mark Wayne Lorch (R) – Rank: Weak
We could not find much about Mark’s stance on environmentalism, but he has shared a Facebook post that shows his support for the Paris Climate Agreement and city mayors upholding what the Agreement outlines.
Even before Mike was elected into Congress, he did work for sustainable causes. He was a part of Cook County’s Green Building Ordinance, which set standards to reduce harmful emissions in construction. This resulted in the county buying hybrid cars and recycled goods, promoting healthier communities and green practices. He also safeguarded thousands of acres of the Cook County Forest Preserve District.
In Congress, Mike achieved a 98% LCV scorecard (source) due to all the eco-friendly items he supports. This includes renewable energy, green building policies in the US Army, and attention to Great Lakes restoration and invasive species in these ecosystems.
Tom Hanson (R) – Rank: Weak
While we were unable to find very much info on the subject, Tom did take a political courage test back in 2008. If he still sticks with the same set of principles, Tom comes with some pros and cons. The good: He supports developing renewable energies and increasing fuel efficiency in vehicles. He also indicated his support for international emission targets in order to reduce carbon emission globally. The bad: He lacked support for a number of things we’d like to see in a candidate, like strengthening the Clean Air and Water Acts and cap and trade policies. He also supported developing domestic fossil fuel sources, including drilling in federally protected lands (source).
Peter J. Roskam (R) – Incumbent – Rank: Bad
Peter supports an “all of the above” energy policy, which would be better than barring renewables from our country’s energy portfolio altogether. However, he opposes cap and trade policies to reduce carbon emissions and has a lifetime LCV score of just 7% (source 1 | source 2).
Sean Casten (D) – Rank: Strong
The Democratic candidate for District 6 supports renewable energy and driving more developments in this sector through goal-based incentives (rather than paths). Sean’s top priority is reducing and regulating carbon emissions. One way to do this, he suggests, is by re-evaluating the Clean Air Act and updating it to encourage energy efficiency through incentives. He also supports a Fossil Energy Reduction Standard to be implemented nationwide, which would require a percentage reduction of power to draw from fossil fuel energy.
Danny K. Davis (D) -Incumbent – Rank: Good
While Danny does not thoroughly discuss his stance on environmental issues, his voting record and political courage test indicate he’s on the green side. He supports funding renewable energy developments and regulating greenhouse gas emissions, both important wins here (source). His lifetime LCV voting record is a solid 92%, so his work in Congress thus far has been supportive of sustainability and other environmental issues (source).
Craig Cameron (R) – Rank: Weak
A political courage test shows Craig’s support for funding renewable developments and regulating greenhouse gas emissions (source), but does not discuss any of his environmental or energy concerns in the list of key issues on his campaign site.
Your current representative supports the important eco-friendly approaches we’re looking for, namely pushing for clean energy and preserving our land, air, and water. Raja wants to keep a strong EPA, staffed with environmental scientists. He worked against efforts to weaken the EPA and the scientists working for the environment’s best interest. Raja also disapproves of the decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement and introduced legislation that gives our country another chance to stay in the agreement and continue leading global efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Lastly, Raja supports restoration efforts in the Great Lakes and has a perfect 100% LCV score (source).
Jitendra Diganvker (R) – Rank: Unknown
Although Jitendra lists many key issues on his website, environmental and energy concerns are not one of them.
Jan Schakowsky (D) – Incumbent – Rank: Strong
Jan has been supporting renewable energy and energy efficiency since she starting serving in Congress. She’s also been working to protect the Great Lakes from pollution and preventative measures for ensuring clean air and water. She introduced the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which sets measures for increasing energy efficiency, reducing harmful emissions and pollution, and transitioning into clean energy. Furthermore, Jan is a cosponsor of the Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act, which is a piece of legislation that also transitions our energy source to renewable ones. She also has a 98% LCV score (source).
John Elleson (R) – Rank: Weak
A political courage test tells us that John supports funding renewable energy developments, but opposes regulating greenhouse gas emissions (source). Additionally, John lists many key issues on his website, but environmental and energy concerns are not one of them.
Brad supports shifting toward clean energy while we extract fossil fuels until we transition fully to renewables. While we’d like to see candidates support the exploration of mostly renewable energy, Brad still uses his power in Congress to support environmental issues and push for renewable transitions. This can be proven with his 94% LCV score (source). Additionally, Brad has fought to keep our air and water protections and funds going to the Great Lakes Restoration Fund.
Doug Bennett (R) – Rank: Unknown
Although Doug lists many key issues on his website, environmental and energy concerns are not one of them.
Bill, like all green-ranking candidates, supports renewable energy. He also believes we should invest in developing new technologies to meet our energy needs in a clean, sustainable way. Furthermore, Bill’s been working against attempts to weaken our environmental protections. He does seem to support the “safe” extraction of natural gas, which is still a fossil fuel. However, Bill’s intentions in Congress have been proven on our side with his LCV 93% score (source).
Nick Stella (R) – Rank: Unknown
Although Nick lists many key issues on his website, environmental and energy concerns are not one of them.
Mike promotes an “all of the above” energy approach, but points out on his campaign website that coal mining should continue with the means to “efficiently produce energy from this coal with less pollution.” However, funding renewable developments provide efficient energy with little to no pollution, so we aren’t too keen on this fossil fuel production. Mike also promises to fight against “regulatory burdens” which is often code for dismantling environmental policies. Furthermore, he has an LCV score of just 4% (source).
Brendan Kelly (D) – Rank: Unknown
Although Brendan lists many key issues on his website, environmental and energy concerns are not one of them.
Randy Auxier (Green Party) – Rank: Strong
Randy is a renewable energy supporter and has gone so far as to sign a pledge that vows to refuse any money from the fossil fuel industries. With this, we know the environment is his priority. Additionally, Randy sees a need for change in the agricultural industry and encourages more sustainable farming and practices that conserve our resources. He also supports federal regulations on greenhouse gas emissions (source).
Although Rodney lists many key issues on his website, environmental and energy concerns are not one of them. His voting reflects the environment is not much of a concern and has an LCV score of 6% (source).
Betsy Londrigan (D) – Rank: Strong
Betsy is going into Congress with a green to-do list, and we approve. First on her list is reducing emissions and promoting renewable energy sources. She’s also looking to ensure protections for public lands and waters, replace old pipes, and continue funding for the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Randy’s campaign site tackles a few key issues, but not sustainability. He supports an “all of the above” energy policy in order to reduce our reliance on foreign fuel. His voting record does not support a commitment to environmental concerns and his LCV is a mere 5% (source).
Lauren Underwood (D) – Rank: Strong
The Democratic candidate for District 14 plans to support investments in expanding renewable energy technologies (including projects in efficient and renewable transportation). Lauren also supports an EPA staffed with those who consider the environment and public health a priority and wants to strongly enforce regulations outlined in the Clean Air and Water Acts.
John here supports all the things we disapprove. This includes: being a “strong advocate” of oil and coal industries in your state, offshore drilling, fracking, the Keystone XL pipeline, and standing in opposition to the EPA’s environmental regulations. He also has an LCV score of 6% (source).
Kevin Gaither (D) – Rank: Strong
Kevin is concerned with the hazards environmental issues poses for your district, especially when it comes to the Dynegy coal ash polluting the Vermillion River and seeping into groundwater used in homes. Kevin understands that environmental regulations are necessary to protect our land, water, air, and health. Additionally, he supports renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and wants to bring these green jobs right into District 15.