Illinois: Thirteenth District|
Rep. Judy Biggert (R)
Last Updated May 19, 1999
Most residents of Chicagoland now live not in the city but in the suburbs, and increasingly not even in Cook County but in the Collar Counties all around. DuPage County, straight west of Chicago, had 103,000 residents in 1940; in 1990, there were 781,000, with new subdivisions still springing up. Nor are these just bedroom communities. Here in Oak Brook are the headquarters of Ace Hardware, Federal Signal, the Spiegel catalogue, and most prominently, McDonald's and its Hamburger University. One out of eight young Americans has worked at McDonald's, and millions have learned from this corporation the basics of arithmetic and literacy, good work habits and cheerful service, lessons not always taught in today's public schools. Nearby are gracefully older railroad commuter towns like Hinsdale and Downers Grove, but also Naperville, once a country village, now an edge city. And vast government laboratories have sprung up, sparking private research firms, the Argonne National Laboratory along the Sanitary and Ship Canal and the Des Plaines River.
The 13th Congressional District includes the southern slice of DuPage County, including Oak Brook, Downers Grove and Naperville, the southwest corner of Cook County around Palos Hills, and the northern slice of Will County north of Joliet. Politically, this is a heavily Republican area, suspicious of the motives and operations of Chicago's Democrats, devoted to free enterprise and hostile to higher taxes. DuPage County has indeed become Illinois's Republican powerhouse, the home base of state Senate President Pate Philip and House Minority Leader (and former Speaker) Lee Daniels.
The congresswoman from the 13th is Judy Biggert, a Republican elected in 1998. She grew up in Kenilworth, on the affluent North Shore, graduated from New Trier Township High School, Stanford and Northwestern Law School and clerked for a federal appeals judge. She raised four children in Hinsdale, practicing estate and real estate law out of her home, served on the Hinsdale Township Board of Education, was chairman of the Visiting Nurses Association of Chicago--a ''former car pool mom and assistant soccer coach,'' as her campaign put it. In 1992 she was elected to the state House, and was soon part of the leadership. There she supported tort reform, property tax caps, repeal of the Structural Work Act, tougher sentencing for child pornographers and a ''quality first'' education reform. In August 1997 Congressman Harris Fawell, a Republican leader on labor issues, announced he would not run again; he endorsed Biggert in November. She ran as a supporter of abortion rights. ''I strongly believe that the government should not interfere with a woman's most personal and private decision.'' She said she opposed most gun control measures for constitutional reasons, though she had campaigned for gun control in 1992, and she said she was against ''drive-by'' health care.
Biggert had primary opposition from state Representative Peter Roskam, who moved into the district to run. He attacked her on abortion, and criticized her for voting for a $485 million school funding bill that included tax increases on cigarettes, casino gambling and telephones. Gary Bauer's Campaign for Working Families ran ads against Biggert, and she was opposed by some corporations because of her stand on health care. But Biggert raised far more money, including $402,000 of her own funds and contributions from Planned Parenthood and the Human Rights Campaign (she has voted for gay rights bills). And she won the endorsement of Governor Jim Edgar as well as Fawell. Biggert won the March 1998 primary by 45%-40%, carrying DuPage 50%-38% and trailing in Will and Cook counties.
In the general election Biggert was opposed by Susan Hynes, a Democrat who held Fawell to a career-low 60% in 1996. She argued that the district's demographics had changed and charged that Biggert voted against a patient's rights bill and against a partial birth abortion ban in the legislature; Biggert argued that she voted for different versions of each. But Hynes was vastly outspent, and the demographic changes proved not to be enough for her to prevail. Biggert won 61%-39%, carrying 65% in DuPage County, 57% in Will and 55% in Cook. She has pledged to limit herself to three terms.
Safe. This western Chicagoland district is one of the most reliably Republican in the state and Biggert should win here easily in 2000.
- Pop. 1990: 571,344
- 4.2% rural;
8% age 65+;
- 91.6% White,
0.1% Amer. Indian,
2.9% Hispanic origin;
67.5% married couple families;
37% married couple fams. w. children;
64.6% college educ.;
median household income: $50,087;
per capita income: $20,912;
median gross rent: $562;
median house value: $140,300.
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