Raymond Lenzi to run against Mike Bost for 12th district congressman

By Jacob Lorenz, Staff Reporter

Democrat Raymond Lenzi, former SIU associate chancellor and CEO of SIU Research Park, is running for congressman of the 12th district of Illinois.  The announcement was given on Sept. 19 at Carbondale City Hall in front of his supporters. 

The announcement began with a rendition of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They are a-Changin’” by Tom Connelley, Kathy Livingston and Ray Maring. 

Lenzi said his focus will be on issues like universal healthcare, economic development, gun violence and climate change.

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“We’re building not just a campaign, but a movement to capture public sentiment and win elections and control of the government for the Democratic party progressive forces and we the people,” Lenzi said.

Lenzi’s approach to healthcare is to build on Obamacare by passing legislation to lower costs and give universal coverage. Lenzi said he wants Medicaid or something similar, for all while retaining supplemental private policies. 

“This is America, if we can afford the 3 trillion dollar tax cut to the wealthiest one percent, we can afford healthcare for all,” Lenzi said. 

Lenzi said he supports Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s decision to increase the minimum wage and believes it should be adopted nationally. Progressive income taxation for the wealthiest Americans and the $700 billion infrastructure signed by Pritzker are also on Lenzi’s agenda. 

Lastly, Lenzi focused on gun violence and climate change. He said he believes in permanent bans on assault weapons and universal background checks.

Lenzi is in support of renewable resources, but also wants to help coal miners and fossil fuel workers in the transition of a renewable economy. 

“The thing I want to make very clear is the coal miners are not our enemies,” Lenzi said. “They’re the ones that gave us electric lights. They’re the ones that gave us modernity and all the modern conveniences.” 

Lenzi currently lives in Makanda and retired from SIU in 2006. Lenzi paid his way through college by working as a coal miner for United Mine Workers of America. 

“Our party and our progressive allies present a bold plan that will address social and economic injustices of the day and put us on a path that jump starts us to building energy systems of the 21st century,” Lenzi said. “The energy systems will create tens of millions of good paying jobs and save a livable atmosphere for our children and grandchildren.” 

Staff reporter Jacob Lorenz can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @jtlorenz6.

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