Joe Walsh for Congress
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 3, 2010
Statement by Joe Walsh Regarding Personal Financial History in Response to today's Daily Herald article.
LAKE ZURICH, IL -- Our country faces critical challenges. I'm running for Congress to address those challenges. It is incredibly disappointing to me - and to the majority of voters in the Illinois 8th Congressional District - that the news media has focused not on these issues that matter to the future of our nation, but instead has consistently sought to ridicule, demean, and condescend to anyone who tries to challenge the status quo.
The politics of personal destruction is the reason we so seldom see legitimate "change agents" running for office.
I won the Republican primary by a large margin, despite being outspent because voters identified with my message. I feel like I'm losing my country and too few we've sent to D.C. are doing anything about it.
Here are the facts: I am not a wealthy man - I never have been. We have lived the past couple of years on a salary that averages $40K year, and which is more in line with the average family in the 8th. I believe that public service, including elective office, should be accessible to people of all income levels, not just the wealthy. Frankly, I believe that one of the reasons we have so many problems and we see so many bad policy choices made is because Congress is a millionaires' club. Too many of our elected officials are insulated from the devastating financial impacts of the rules and regulations they impose on us.
I know all too well what 8th district families are going through to make ends meet because I've experienced some of the same difficult and humbling financial challenges. Like so many others in Illinois in recent years, and 1 in 9 Americans nationally, I know what it's like to lose a home to foreclosure.
After graduating from the University of Chicago in 1991 with a Master's Degree in Public Policy, I chose a career in public service, knowing that the salary levels would never make me wealthy. Instead, I got satisfaction from working as a social worker in inner city Chicago, teaching American history and government at community colleges, and running the non-profit Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund. After my first marriage ended in divorce, I purchased a condominium in Evanston to be my primary residence. This was back in 2004.
In 2006 I remarried and realized that with our combined family of five children we needed a larger home. In 2006, I put the Evanston condo up for sale. By 2008 with no buyers in a down real-estate market, I found myself struggling to keep up with two homes, and five children. I accepted responsibility for the situation and worked with my bank to foreclose on the condo. It was my problem and I didn't ask anyone to bail me out. Additionally in 2008, I tried to improve my financial situation by changing careers to work with a Chicago-based boutique banking group focusing on helping new and small businesses raise investment capital. I took responsibility for my circumstances and have endured the financial consequences while working diligently to abide by my obligations.
This experience helped me gain a better appreciation for the very real economic anxieties felt by 8th district families, many of whom are just a paycheck or two away from facing similar difficulties. Frankly, the perspective I gained from this challenge helped me grow as a person and I believe will make me a better representative of working people's interests in Washington.
I knew getting into this race that the local media would do Melissa Bean's dirty work for her. And the Daily Herald has now lived down to my expectations. The media elites are part of a dysfunctional political establishment that has destroyed our economy in pursuit of reshaping America into a country working people don't even recognize and cannot afford.
I got in this race to represent the people I grew up with, the people who go to work every day and who try to make ends meet. While Melissa Bean hides from her constituents for fear that she would have to defend her radical left-wing votes for cap-and-trade and a government takeover of health care, I stand before the electorate in the light of day ready to present my views and answer all inquiries.
If enduring the ridicule of a few media types is the price I have to pay to demonstrate that a regular guy can stand up to the political establishment on behalf of middle class, working families, so be it.
The issues facing our country are too serious to allow a couple of cheap shots to get me off my message. I'm grateful for the support of fellow Republicans, specifically Gene Dawson, who told me this morning, "I'm behind you 100%." I'm going to keep doing what I've been doing since the day I started this race - talking to real voters about bringing real change to Washington D.C.
Joe Walsh is the Republican candidate running against Democrat incumbent Melissa Bean in 2010 for the Illinois 8th Congressional District.