Former Crystal Lake High School District 155 board member John Dawson wants to take his politics to a higher level.
Dawson, 52, of Barrington, announced Thursday he's running in the 8th Congressional District's Republican primary. Democratic U.S. Rep. Melissa Bean of Barrington holds the seat Dawson wants.
Other candidates for the GOP or Democratic primaries in the 8th District have not yet stepped forward publicly. The district includes Cook, Lake and McHenry counties.
The owner of a home building and remodeling company, Dawson said the need for job creation and getting a handle on the national deficit are two issues driving him to compete in the Republican primary.
"We need a smaller government," said Dawson, who lives within 8th Congressional District boundaries.
Dawson began his career as a fifth-grade teacher, later earning a master's degree and working in financial services in the private sector. He served on the District 155 board from 2001 to 2005, losing to Ann Somers in his bid for another four-year year term.
Lake County Republican Party Chairman Dan Venturi said he's pleased Dawson will be in the congressional primary. Venturi said he's met Dawson and found he has a grasp on fiscal concerns.
"I don't think John's the end of the (GOP) field," Venturi said. "I think we'll have a (contested) primary."
Long Grove's Steve Greenberg and Gurnee residents Kirk Morris and Kenneth Arnold ran in the 8th District's Republican primary in February 2008. Morris went on to be elected as a Gurnee village trustee this year.
Bean won her third, 2-year term in Congress by drubbing Greenberg in the November 2008 election. Bean mostly ignored Greenberg while he campaigned and attacked her over the nation's economic problems.
Greenberg cited a lack of campaign money in his loss. Federal records show Bean had collected more than $3.1 million for television advertising, radio spots, polling and other campaign expenses, compared to Greenberg's $900,000.
Dawson, a married father of two grown children, said Thursday it's way too early to discuss whether he'd have the financial wherewithal to compete in a general election.