Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: 2006, 5th term.

Born: September 13, 1961, Hinsdale

Home: Wheaton

Education: U. of IL, B.A. 1983, Chicago-Kent Col. of Law, J.D. 1989

Professional Career: Aide, U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, 1985-86, U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde, 1986-87; High school teacher, 1983-85; Exec. Dir., Educational Assistance Ltd., 1987-1993; Practicing atty., 1994-2006.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Anglican

Family: married (Elizabeth) , 4 children

Peter Roskam, a Republican elected in 2006, is well-regarded among his GOP colleagues as smart, hard-working and fair-minded. He served as chief deputy whip until July 2014, after he sought the main whip's job only to lose to the more-conservative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, who had what those in the party saw as the added advantage of hailing from a red state.

A native of DuPage County, Roskam was a varsity gymnast in high school, graduated from the University of Illinois, and got his law degree while directing a charitable organization started by his father that used corporate resources to fund college scholarships. During law school, he was part of a team that won a national mock trial competition. As a young man, he also once worked as an aide to Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., his predecessor. Roskam served six years in the state House, and six years in the state Senate, where he was the Republican whip and floor leader. (He is the only current member of Congress who served with President Barack Obama in the state Senate.)

Between those legislative stints, he ran unsuccessfully in 1998 for the open congressional seat in the neighboring 13th District, losing 45%-40% against state House colleague Judy Biggert in the Republican primary. In 2006, Hyde, one of the most widely respected conservatives on Capitol Hill, stepped down. Roskam raised nearly $400,000 in two months, and managed to scare off potentially competitive Republican challengers. He ran unopposed for the GOP nomination, conserving his money for the general election.

In the fall, his Democratic opponent was Tammy Duckworth, a former manager for Rotary International and an Iraq war veteran. She was famous as a Black Hawk helicopter pilot who served with the Illinois National Guard and lost both legs in Iraq after her helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade and crashed. She had won a highly competitive primary to get the Democratic nomination, defeating technology consultant Christine Cegelis, 44% to 40%, with 16% going to a third candidate.

The two nominees sparred over tax cuts, earmarks, the Iraq war, and immigration policy. They also clashed over abortion rights, federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, and expansion of O’Hare, all of which Roskam opposed.Duckworth criticized Roskam as “a rubber stamp” for the Bush administration, and referred to the scandal-plagued House GOP Leader Tom DeLay of Texas as Roskam’s “mentor.” She also benefited from a wave of favorable news coverage of her compelling personal story.

Roskam disparaged Duckworth as the “candidate from the Chicago Democratic machine” because of her ties to the well-connected Rahm Emanuel, a former White House chief of staff and then a Democratic House member from a nearby district. In one of the few Republican successes in a competitive House contest that year, Roskam won 51%-49%. (Duckworth was elected to the 8th District seat in 2012.)

In the House, Roskam aligns firmly with GOP colleagues to oppose Democrats’ economic proposals. He has accused Obama, his onetime state Senate colleague, of being unwilling to deal with Republicans. “You know, in the legislature, Barack Obama was somebody you could sit down and negotiate with. … Now I think the problem is that the president has not shown any bipartisanship,” he told The Daily Beast website in December 2012.

Early in his House career, Roskam was more moderate, casting votes for bills in 2009 to tighten food safety, to impose more stringent regulations on credit card companies, and to give the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate some tobacco products. He has been less of a centrist since his party regained control of the House in 2011.

As chief deputy whip, he won praise from colleagues. “People like him, he’s smart, he’s savvy, he understands the policy end and how it relates to the political end,” Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., told the suburban Chicago Daily Herald in March 2012. It has helped that he has been a skilled fundraiser, often not just donating money to Republican candidates but going to their districts to assist them. In the 2012 election season, he took in more than $4.2 million through his campaign and political action committees, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

His solid freshman year and his friendship with party leaders got him a seat in 2009 on the powerful Ways and Means Committee. When Ways and Means approved a $15 billion package of small-business tax breaks in 2010, Roskam unsuccessfully sought to index individual tax rates to reflect not only inflation but increases in federal spending. He said the change would enable household income to grow with federal spending without incurring a tax increase. More recently, he has made a priority of reforming the tax code, describing the current code as “a mess of loopholes, carve outs, and crony capitalism” that has hindered job growth.

When Cantor unexpectedly lost his primary in June 2014, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California moved into the majority leader's slot. That left the whip's job open, and Roskam -- who had been meeting with colleagues to discuss his future even before Cantor lost -- threw his hat in the ring. But he met resistance from some in his caucus who questioned his conservatism. It didn't help him when the conservative website Breitbart.com reported that he had boasted of receiving praise from Obama on an "Obama Voters for Roskam" website in 2008. Despite promising to appoint a deputy from a red state, he and Rep. Marlin Stutzman of Indiana lost to Scalise.

Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin vowed that Democrats would give Roskam a strong challenge in 2008, but in July 2007 Duckworth, the party’s top prospect, decided to stay in her job as head of the Illinois Veterans’ Affairs Department. Instead, Democrats nominated another Iraq war veteran, retired Army Col. Jill Morgenthaler, who was the Army spokeswoman during the Abu Ghraib prison scandal.

She campaigned on her support for President George W. Bush’s troop surge in Iraq, and accused Roskam of having “extreme” views on abortion rights, health care, and the economy. Despite early Democratic hopes that Obama’s coattails would reach across Illinois, the national party gave little help to Morgenthaler. Roskam handily won a second term, 58%-42%. With far more pressing concerns two years later, Democrats essentially gave up on the seat and Roskam won easily with 64%.

He fared well in redistricting after the 2010 census. Illinois Democrats controlling the process decided to pack as many Republicans as possible into his district to make way for two new neighboring Democratic seats. He won reelection in 2012 with 59% of the vote.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-4561

(202) 225-1166

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2246
Washington, DC 20515-1306

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-4561

(202) 225-1166

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2246
Washington, DC 20515-1306

DISTRICT OFFICE

(630) 232-0006

(630) 232-7393

2700 International Drive Suite 304
West Chicago, IL 60185

DISTRICT OFFICE

(630) 232-0006

(630) 232-7393

2700 International Drive Suite 304
West Chicago, IL 60185

DISTRICT OFFICE

(847) 656-6354

200 South Hough Street Second Floor
Barrington, IL 60010

DISTRICT OFFICE

(847) 656-6354

200 South Hough Street Second Floor
Barrington, IL 60010

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

141 Shelley Lane
Wheaton, IL 60187

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(630) 221-0006

141 Shelley Lane
Wheaton, IL 60187

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Hannah Schiller
Legislative Correspondent

Aerospace

Hannah Schiller
Legislative Correspondent

Agriculture

Joe Fawell
Legislative Assistant

joe.fawell@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4561

Aaron Krejci
Legislative Director

akrejci@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4561

Animal Rights

Hannah Schiller
Legislative Correspondent

Appropriations

Jeff Billman
Legislative Assistant

Joe Fawell
Legislative Assistant

joe.fawell@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4561

Hannah Schiller
Legislative Correspondent

Aaron Krejci
Legislative Director

akrejci@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4561

Omri Rahmil
Legislative Assistant

Budget

Aaron Krejci
Legislative Director

akrejci@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4561

Commerce

Joe Fawell
Legislative Assistant

joe.fawell@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4561

Education

Hannah Schiller
Legislative Correspondent

Energy

Joe Fawell
Legislative Assistant

joe.fawell@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4561

Environment

Jeff Billman
Legislative Assistant

Joe Fawell
Legislative Assistant

joe.fawell@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4561

Family

Hannah Schiller
Legislative Correspondent

Finance

Joe Fawell
Legislative Assistant

joe.fawell@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4561

Aaron Krejci
Legislative Director

akrejci@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4561

Foreign

Jeff Billman
Legislative Assistant

Omri Rahmil
Legislative Assistant

Govt Ops

Joe Fawell
Legislative Assistant

joe.fawell@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4561

Hannah Schiller
Legislative Correspondent

Dean Thompson
Director of Oversight

Aaron Krejci
Legislative Director

akrejci@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4561

Health

Jeff Billman
Legislative Assistant

Leigh Owano
Healthcare Legislative Assistant

Homeland Security

Jeff Billman
Legislative Assistant

Dean Thompson
Director of Oversight

Human Rights

Jeff Billman
Legislative Assistant

Immigration

Aaron Krejci
Legislative Director

akrejci@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4561

Intelligence

Jeff Billman
Legislative Assistant

Judiciary

Joe Fawell
Legislative Assistant

joe.fawell@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4561

Aaron Krejci
Legislative Director

akrejci@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4561

Labor

Jeff Billman
Legislative Assistant

Medicare

Leigh Owano
Healthcare Legislative Assistant

Military

Jeff Billman
Legislative Assistant

Public Works

Joe Fawell
Legislative Assistant

joe.fawell@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4561

Religion

Omri Rahmil
Legislative Assistant

Science

Hannah Schiller
Legislative Correspondent

Seniors

Joe Fawell
Legislative Assistant

joe.fawell@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4561

Small Business

Jeff Billman
Legislative Assistant

Social Security

Joe Fawell
Legislative Assistant

joe.fawell@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4561

Tax

Joe Fawell
Legislative Assistant

joe.fawell@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4561

Aaron Krejci
Legislative Director

akrejci@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4561

Technology

Hannah Schiller
Legislative Correspondent

Telecommunications

Joe Fawell
Legislative Assistant

joe.fawell@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4561

Trade

Aaron Krejci
Legislative Director

akrejci@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4561

Transportation

Joe Fawell
Legislative Assistant

joe.fawell@mail.house.gov
(202) 225-4561

Veterans

Hannah Schiller
Legislative Correspondent

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Peter Roskam
Votes: 193,138
Percent: 59.22%
Leslie Coolidge
Votes: 132,991
Percent: 40.78%
2012 PRIMARY
Peter Roskam
Unopposed
2010 GENERAL
Peter Roskam
Votes: 114,456
Percent: 63.65%
Benjamin Lowe
Votes: 65,379
Percent: 36.35%
2010 PRIMARY
Peter Roskam
Votes: 53,081
Percent: 100.0%
2008 GENERAL
Peter Roskam
Votes: 147,906
Percent: 57.57%
Jill Morgenthaler
Votes: 109,007
Percent: 42.43%
2008 PRIMARY
Peter Roskam
Votes: 57,612
Percent: 100.0%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (64%), 2008 (58%), 2006 (51%)

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