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Debbie Halvorson might run against Jesse Jackson Jr.

Debbie Halvorson

Debbie Halvorson

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Updated: November 16, 2011 1:26AM



Former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson said Friday she has filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission in the 2nd Congressional District, a seat currently held by fellow Democrat Jesse Jackson Jr.

Halvorson, unseated in the 11th Congressional District last year by Republican Adam Kinzinger, emphasized she has not yet decided to run.

“I’ve been asked to run by constituents who feel they are not represented,” said Halvorson, who lives in Crete, which would become part of Jackson’s district under a new map. “I’ve told them I would consider it and I have to keep my options open if I’m going to do that, and that means filing my paperwork.”

But Halvorson sounded very much like a candidate when she said Jackson “lives in D.C.. He doesn’t come home on weekends. His kids go to school in D.C.

“I like Jesse. A lot of people pit us against each other but we agree on a lot of things and often voted the same way in Congress,” Halvorson said.

“But there are some issues we do disagree on.”

One of those has been the proposed third Chicago airport near Peotone, where Jackson has formed a governing coalition that Halvorson has opposed. Halvorson has contended the Jackson group is dominated by Cook County municipalities. She wants the airport controlled by Will County officials.

Jackson issued a statement Friday.

“During the past 16 years I have maintained a narrow focus on bringing jobs to the Southland. I’ve secured more $900 million in federal investments in the 2nd Congressional District — more than any other congressman in the state during that period,” Jackson stated.

“I’ve also worked with local communities to secure $700 million in private funds to build a new airport that will create 15,000 new jobs. Ours is the only airport plan I’m aware of, and I plan to see it through until opening day. People today want more jobs and less political infighting.”

Halvorson, 53, was elected to Congress from the 11th District in 2009 when incumbent Republican Jerry Weller announced he would not seek re-election.

She said since her defeat in 2010 she has been a consultant to alternative energy companies working with municipalities and has been writing a book that she said should be published soon.

“I just want to emphasize I haven’t made a decision yet,” she said. “This is a tough one. The new (2nd) district includes a lot of the areas I represent, so I am very familiar with it.”



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