Media about our campaign

Daily Kos

● IL-14: Located in greater Chicago's western exurbs, Democrats had drawn Illinois' 14th District to quarantine hostile Republican voters, but after the well-educated district swung from 54-44 Romney to just 49-45 Trump, GOP Rep. Randy Hultgren could be targeted in 2018. High school teacher and Navy veteran Victor Swanson recently became the first Democrat to jump into the race, although it's unclear if the first-time candidate has the skills and connections needed for such an uphill race. At the very least, Swanson might be able to get some fundraising help thanks to his famous brother Andy Richter, a comedian and actor who is best known for his longtime collaborations with late-night TV host Conan O'Brien.

Daily Herald

Batavia teacher Victor Swanson plans to run as a Democrat against Hultgren. Swanson's grandfather Glen Palmer was Kendall County Republican chair for nearly 30 years until the 1970s, but Swanson says he's disenchanted with the GOP.

Daily Herald

Batavia resident, teacher hopes to challenge Hultgren

Lauren Rohr

As a high school teacher and a Navy veteran, Batavia resident Victor Swanson says he doesn't feel adequately represented by members of Congress.

Hoping to be a voice for the middle class, Swanson said Sunday he is running for the 14th Congressional District seat in 2018, making him the first Democrat to launch a campaign against Republican incumbent Randy Hultgren.

"The House of Representatives is supposed to be the closest to the people. It's supposed to be representative of our society. It's just not," Swanson said. "I took a leap of faith, and I'm going to do my best."

Swanson, who grew up in Yorkville, served in the U.S. Navy before attending Illinois State University to study secondary education. He has since earned a master's degree from Northern Illinois University and teaches social studies at Glenbard East High School in Lombard.

His wife, Karen, is also a public school teacher, and his children, Ellie and Carter, attend Batavia public schools.

Swanson said public education is at the top of his list of priorities if elected. In addition to focusing on improving public schools, he would push for lowering college costs and providing universal access to preschool.

He also wants to strengthen and protect Medicare, Social Security and the environment, he said, pointing to one of his biggest concerns: "How are we going to leave this earth and this country for our future generations?"

A first-time candidate for any political office, Swanson said he expects his biggest challenge to be making his name and political stance known to the constituents of the 14th District, which covers parts of Kane, DuPage, McHenry, Lake, DeKalb, Kendall and Will counties.

"There are a lot of people that are ready and energized about making changes in our government," he said. "We need to harness that energy."

Swanson is planning to formally announce his campaign Monday.

Northwest Herald

Rep. Randy Hultgren constituents decry secrecy in Senate debate, seek stronger health care law

Brenda Schory - bschory@shawmedia.com

CAMPTON HILLS – About 40 constituents came to the Campton Hills district office of U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Plano, on Tuesday to protest his support of the House version of the health care bill now being debated in the U.S. Senate – and the lack of transparency of the bill’s details.

Carrying a sign that read, “Save the ACA,” Dorothy Johnson-Linner of Aurora said she has a sister with polycystic kidney disease who is on Medicare.

Johnson-Linner said the American Health Care Act would cut Medicare and affect her sister’s ability to stay healthy. She said she would prefer that Congress work to strengthen the Affordable Care Act.

“And the secrecy, to me, is unconscionable,” Johnson-Linner said, referring to Republican Senators meeting privately to discuss their health care bill.

According to media reports, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said Republicans would see a draft of health care reform legislation by June 29.

An email response from Hultgren’s office said that he is in the House and “supports an open and transparent legislative process.”

“He encourages anyone concerned with Senate legislative processes to contact Sens. [Dick] Durbin and [Tammy] Duckworth,” the email said.

But that did not stop protesters from staking out at Hultgren’s district office.

Geneva resident Jeanne Neltnor’s sign said, “Save health care. Join the fight.”

“I’m out here because I want to save the health care we have and improve that health care,” Neltnor said. “The secrecy – they are trying to hide something from us, and usually that’s not a good thing.”

Geneva resident Teresa Bradley’s sign called for Medicare for all. Bradley said she’s been to Ireland and Canada and spoken to residents there who like having national health care coverage.

“They never have to worry about being bankrupt or they can’t get access,” Bradley said. “I want better health care, and I don’t want to lose the health care we’ve got. They’re just trying to get a big tax cut – that’s an evil thing. “

Bradley was referring to the House bill – the American Health Care Act – that is intended to repeal tax increases imposed by Obamacare on high-income households to fund insurance subsidies and other provisions.

“Part of the problem is [lawmakers] should be working for us. I don’t think they are,” Bradley said. “If you’re being secretive, you’re not doing something well.”

Also attending the event was Batavia resident Victor Swanson, who has declared he would seek the Democratic nomination to run against Hultgren in the 2018 general election.

“I’m out here supporting the Indivisible [Illinois] group with their signs and their protest for affordable care,” Swanson said. “Randy’s not doing much for his constituents. He’s voting with large banks, large corporations and large insurance companies, instead of what his people want and what his people need.”

Swanson also criticized the secrecy surrounding the Senate’s version of the American Health Care Act – also known as Trumpcare – which was passed by the House on May 4.

“Any bill that is passed should be done in the open, unless it’s harmful for our national security,” Swanson said. “Clearly, a health care bill is not harmful for national security. But it is harmful for millions of Americans if the rumors [about it] are true.”

The protest was punctuated by the arrival of an electronic billboard with rotating messages, paid for by Indivisible Illinois. The group is a movement of residents who oppose President Donald Trump and his policies. There are several chapters in Kane County and around the state.

The messages criticized Hultgren’s vote for the new health care act, saying that it would take away health care from 710,200 Illinoisans, make premiums rise, cut Medicaid by $834 billion and could result in the shutdown of rural hospitals.

The driver parked the truck on the street alongside Hultgren’s office.

Northwest Herald

Teacher raised in Yorkville running against Randy Hultgren for Congress

By TONY SCOTT - tscott@shawmedia.com

May 9, 2017

A school teacher raised in Yorkville has announced his candidacy as a Democrat opposing Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Plano, in the 2018 midterm elections for the 14th Congressional District, which includes much of McHenry County.

Victor Swanson, a Batavia resident, grew up in Yorkville surrounded by Republican Party politics. His grandfather, Glen D. Palmer, was Kendall County Republican Party chairman from 1946 to September 1973, and was state director of conservation under Republican Gov. William Stratton.

Swanson moved to Naperville with his mother and siblings from his family’s house on Game Farm Road in Yorkville when he was in fifth grade, when his parents divorced.

Swanson graduated from Naperville Central High School and immediately enlisted in the U.S. Navy, where he served for three years. He later received a teaching degree from Illinois State University and a master’s in curriculum and instruction from Northern Illinois University. He teaches social studies at Glenbard East High School in Lombard.

Swanson said he recalled listening to the Rev. Larry Rezash at Yorkville Congregational Church when he was growing up. He cited those sermons when talking about the Republican Party.

“The one thing I learned that I take to heart still today from Rev. Rezash was the most important thing in the world is to love each other and take care of one another, and I just don’t see that in the Republican Party anymore,” Swanson said. “I see a lot of business interests and a lot of doing what’s best for corporations but not doing what’s best for people.”

Swanson said he “got tired” of Hultgren’s actions in Congress.

“I had thought about running in races before, but I’ve never really taken that leap of faith,” he said. “I just got tired of the representation that Randy Hultgren was giving us. He proposes bills on abstinence, and where I work, 40 percent of the students get two meals a day, and the two meals come from school, and he wants to cut those benefits.

“To me, that’s not what the United States is about. The House of Representatives is supposed to be about the people, and I don’t see that in Randy Hultgren. I see him as a representative of financial institutions and insurance companies.”

A first-time candidate, Swanson said he has spoken to Democratic staffers who told him that he wouldn’t be able to afford to run. To run against Hultgren, Swanson would have to defeat any potential challengers in a Democratic Party primary election.

“Almost every single person has said to me, in short, is that the problem with me running is I have a real job,” he said. “Because I won’t have time to do all that fundraising. And that just agitated me and made me want to run even more because if we have people who are running for office who don’t have ‘real jobs,’ then we don’t have true representation.”

He said, however, that he has spoken with people who are “fed up” with the current representation in Washington.

“Money, while it is going to be important, may not be the final answer in this,” he said. “I think people are kind of fed up that these people who have the money are the ones making the decisions, and we shouldn’t be an oligarchy, we should be a representative democracy.”

Swanson’s wife, Karen, also is an educator who teaches fifth grade, and the couple have two children – Ellie, 9, and Carter, 8.

Plainfield Patch

Hultgren Calls Obamacare 'Failing Law,' Opponent Says Repeal Vote Is 'Unthinkable'

Democratic challenger Victor Swanson accused the congressman of "gleefully voting to take away health care."

By Shannon Antinori (Patch National Staff) - Updated May 4, 2017 3:41 pm ET

After Republicans in the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act on Thursday, sending the Obamacare repeal on to the Senate, a local Republican stood behind his vote. Congressman Randy Hultgren quickly issued a statement saying the status quo was "unacceptable" and calling Obamacare a "failed law." But a Democratic challenger had strong words about Hultgren's vote.

"Today, Randy Hultgren did the unthinkable (sic) he gleefully voted to take away health care from 37,500 of his own constituents," Victor Swanson, a Batavia Democrat who recently announced his intention to run against Hultgren in 2018, said in a statement. "When the people of our district needed Randy Hultgren the most he wasn’t there. He sided with Donald Trump and Paul Ryan instead of the 37,500 constituents who will lose their health care coverage under the American Health Care Act AKA Trump Care."

Hultgren previously expressed "great concerns" about the American Health Care Act's formula for federal spending on Medicaid, but said "doing nothing isn't an option, which I why I supported this amended bill as an important next step in the longer process of broader health reform that will benefit Illinois."

Hultgren vowed he will make sure people with pre-existing conditions remain covered, saying Obamacare's "downward spiral is accelerating."

While noting that the bill is not the "final product," Hultgren's statement continued:

Under the American Health Care Act (AHCA), insurance companies can never deny someone coverage based on pre-existing conditions. This legislation requires a state to meet very specific requirements if it chooses a waiver to deliver health care that is better tailored to the needs of its population. What people are forgetting is that this much criticized provision is similar to the State Innovation Waivers already granted by standing ACA law. The AHCA provides several layers of protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions in states that get an approved waiver, with rules in place to make sure those individuals have help affording their premiums and that they maintain continuous coverage to keep their costs down. No one can be charged more if they maintain continuous coverage. ... The AHCA also increases plan and network choice by encouraging states to use federal funds to promote participation in private insurance outside failing ACA exchanges, encourages Americans to take advantage of preventive care services and reduces costs in the individual market that have increased dramatically since the ACA took effect.

Swanson said, to him, Thursday's vote was "bigger than politics.

"This vote was very personal to me; I think about my sister who as a child was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes," he said. "I remember her as a young girl taking insulin shots. As an adult she is dependent on the protections that the federal government provides in the Affordable Care Act for preexisting conditions."

Hultgren's district includes Oswego, Yorkville, Batavia, Geneva, St. Charles and Plainfield.

Roll Call

Comedian and actor Andy Richter is best known as Conan O’Brien’s sidekick on various late night talk shows over the last 20 years. Richter isn’t running for Congress, but his brother, Victor Swanson, is challenging GOP Rep. Randy Hultgren in Illinois’ 14th District.

As a Navy veteran and high school teacher, Swanson has a slightly lower profile than his brother. Hultgren is one of dozens of GOP incumbents on the Democrats’ initial target list, but Swanson will need to leverage his brother’s profile into some fundraising, or come up with serious cash from somewhere else in order to become a top-tier candidate. The race is rated Solid Republican by Inside Elections. 

WGN-TV

After the House passed the GOP health care bill, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said Republicans will now have health care tattooed on their foreheads and that the American people will hold them accountable. Democrats are already looking ahead to 2018. And they are already going after two Chicago area Republicans who voted in favor of the bill.

High school social studies teacher Victor Swanson is the first Democrat to launch a campaign against Republican incumbent Randy Hultgreen.

“People are upset and they're wanting a change in government and I hope to bring that,” he says.

Swanson says debate in Washington over health care has activated the Democratic grassroots. And he’s hammering Hultgren for supporting the GOP overhaul plan.

“I think he did that because his money comes from financial institutions and insurance companies and I think people are tired of that."

Down with Tyranny

Can Randy Hultgren Be Defeated In 2018? Not If The DCCC Inserts Another "Ex"-Republican As The Nominee

When the DCCC announced that IL-14 (Randy Hultgren) was on their target list there was a lot of snickering. For Chicagoland, it's a pretty Republican suburban district (primarily McHenry, Kane, Lake, Will and Kendall counties with a bit of DeKalb and a bit of DuPage). The PVI is R+5 and, although Obama edged past McCain in 2008 (50-49%), Romney won in 2012 (54-44%) and Señor Trumpanzee beat Hillary 48.7% to 44.8%. Hillary was the wrong candidate for much of the district and, in fact, Bernie beat her in the primary with a strong 58%.

The GOP incumbent, Hultgren, is a hapless backbencher and knee-jerk religious nut and shill for the GOP leadership. He started his shameful political career working for serial child molester Denny Hastert. First elected to Congress in 2010 against worthless New Dem Bill Foster, his 3 reelection bids have been by huge numbers (59%, 65% and 60%), the DCCC sitting out all 3 races. He beat Foster 51-45% in 2010 despite being massively outspent by the corporate Democrat $3,737,519 to $1,552,578. In 2012, 2014 and 2016 the Democrats who opposed him had no resources. Last year, for example, Jim Walz spent $19,745 to Hultgren's $1,297,836.

The DCCC-- and a couple of conservative Democratic congressmemembers from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- Blue Dog Cheri Bustos and New Dem Bill Foster-- are recruiting Montgomery mayor Matt Brolley-- another of those repulsive "ex"-Republicans corrupt conservative Democrats are so fond of. Brolley doesn't live in the district and doesn't live in the Democratic Party. He pulled Republican ballots in 2010, 2014 and even last year! Now, of course, Brolley is pretending to be a Democrat with progressive stands. That's not how he smells though. There is also some chatter about another DCCC-favored candidate, Lauren Underwood, who says the DCCC is asking her to run and just moved to the district in order to run for Congress. And progressive Jim Walz is running again as well.

The DCCC is especially eager to pass Brolley off as a viable candidate because their worst nightmare-- a pragmatic progressive Democrat, Victor Swanson-- is already running for the seat. For all the bullshit about how the DCCC supports veterans-- Swanson served in the Navy-- the DCCC only supports Republican-lite veterans, not progressive veterans. Swanson has been working as a social studies teacher for 17 years. His wife is also a public school teacher. We spoke with him yesterday and asked him if he's aware of what a difficult task he's taken upon himself. He was very aware of it. "When I began to think about running for Congress," he told us, "I began to have conversations with a variety of people whose lives revolve around the political arena including campaign staffers, congressional staffers, and even Members of Congress. Everyone of them said the same thing, I could not be successful because I had a real job, as a teacher. Those conversations just reinforced my feelings about how broken our Congress is. I decided to forge ahead with this campaign no matter what the naysayers thought. Congress needs to look like America and would greatly benefit from having at least a few members who have worked a real job. I am looking forward to this challenge and I want to help reinvent the political process by bring back realrepresentative government to the People's House."

I'm hearing some chatter in the district that there's a strong move to draft John Laesch, the dedicated Berniecrat who was originally responsible for driving Hastert out of office by running against him-- in the face of concerted and vicious DCCC sabotage-- in 2006 and exposing his myriad... vulnerabilities. Stay tuned. This field is starting to get very crowded.

Paid for by the Committee to Elect Victor Swanson
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