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Democrats will have primary for chance to unseat Roskam
By Marni Pyke | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 10/25/2007 12:14 AM

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The 6th District Congressional race officially became interesting Wednesday.

State official and veteran Army Reserve colonel Jill Morgenthaler announced her candidacy as a Democrat for Congress.

The Des Plaines resident would have to beat rival Stan Jagla of Roselle in the Feb. 5 Democratic primary before taking on U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam in the November election.

Morgenthaler said she's focusing her candidacy on Roskam and politics in Washington.

"I think the values we have in the 6th District are lost in Washington," she said. "They're so busy trying to score political points against each other."

Morgenthaler is Gov. Rod Blagojevich's deputy chief of staff for public safety and homeland security adviser.

With the Army, she served in Iraq and Bosnia and coordinated disaster relief during the San Francisco earthquake of 1989.

Roskam said he wants to wait until the Democrats pick their nominee, but he isn't taking his incumbency for granted.

"Serving in Congress is such a great honor. A lot of people want to be here," Roskam said. "I don't presume this seat is mine. You've got to earn the right to be sent back."

The Wheaton attorney amassed more than $600,000 in campaign donations and has a small army of volunteers who helped secure his victory against Democrat star Tammy Duckworth in 2006.

Duckworth, like Morgenthaler, is an Army Reserve veteran and state official, serving as Department of Veterans' Affairs director. Duckworth called Morgenthaler an excellent choice for Congress.

Jagla is a businessman who left Poland when it was under communist rule in 1986. He has a background in finance and economics.

His platform is to replace American troops in Iraq with United Nations peacekeepers.

"I want to end the war in Iraq and the profiteering going on with it," Jagla said. "There's so much corruption."

He also advocates offering health care to the estimated 45 million Americans who are uninsured with premiums based on income.

Morgenthaler said her key priorities will include a comprehensive immigration policy and, eventually, getting troops out of Iraq.

"Staying is not the answer," she said. "Pulling out immediately is not the answer."

Morgenthaler was an Army spokeswoman during the Abu Ghraib scandal involving the torture of Iraqi prisoners. She said the American soldiers found guilty of the abuses were "a disgrace to the uniform."

"Their actions do not diminish the honor and sacrifice of others," she said. "I'm so proud of the men and women I served with."

Democratic blogger Hiram Wurf, who covers DuPage County politics, gave Morgenthaler an edge in terms of experience and fundraising ability.

"I'm very enthusiastic about what appears to be a serious challenge," he said.

Morgenthaler said she is resigning her state post to run for election.

The 6th District includes northeast DuPage and northwest Cook counties.