It’s official — Galesburg businessman Mark Kleine will run for the U.S. Congress in Illinois’ 17th District.
A statement from the Kleine campaign says he is running as a Republican against three-term incumbent Cheri Bustos — assuming Bustos and Kleine win their respective March primary elections.
Kleine has launched a campaign website that says he is “running for Congress to diversify the Northwestern Illinois economy”. And, in a statement, Kleine says he wants to be a Congressman who has a record of creating jobs, but also says he wants to see and end to the “politics and partisan fighting.”
Prior to Kleine’s statement, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee issued its own statement attacking Kleine, saying he “put profits ahead of protecting Illinois children”, referring to allegedly trying to silence Bustos when she made an issue of the number of children in Knox County with above average blood lead levels.
Kleine sold Kleine Equipment in 2013 to fellow farm implement dealer Martin-Sullivan after nearly 20 years in operation and now works primarily as a developer.
Hear an interview with Mark Kleine tonight (Thursday) during the 5pm hour on Galesburg’s Evening News on WGIL, WGIL.com, and WGIL on the TuneIn Radio App.
BELOW IS THE FULL NEWS RELEASE FROM THE KLEINE CAMPAIGN:
Independent businessman Mark Kleine announced today that he is running to represent the Illinois 17th Congressional District.
“I have seen what vision and commitment to our local area can do to improve things,” said Kleine. “We need a congressman who has a record of creating jobs. Someone who is focused on what we can accomplish together. Someone who wants to go to Washington, D.C. and work on both sides of the aisle to move our country forward. I am that person. I have created jobs, I have grown the economy and improved the community by working with other people and knowing how to make deals happen. The time for partisanship is long past us, and we need to elect a United States representative for Northwest Illinois who is going to put our district ahead of politics.”
Mark Kleine is a businessman from Galesburg, Illinois, who opened his first John Deere equipment dealership in 1994. Over the next 19 years, Kleine grew his business to six locations. During that time, Kleine also started a real estate development company that continues to create jobs and build new homes so Western Illinois families can stay local and live the American Dream. Kleine is heavily invested in rebuilding the local downtown, creating jobs and hundreds of thousands of dollars for the local economy. Kleine is dedicated to giving back through the Kleine Family Foundation, which provides community support for healthcare, education, economic development, and other community needs. Most recently Mark and his wife, Jeanette, co-founded the Pediatric Wellness Center in Western Illinois – a program dedicated to providing physical and mental health care for children in the community. Kleine is running for Congress because he believes career politicians in both parties are hurting America. He believes that his experience as a businessman, his perspective as a political outsider, and his independence from both parties is what we need to move America forward. He wants to continue to create local jobs, make government spending more responsible, and fight the lobbyists and special interests.
Kleine concluded, “We’ve got to stop the politics and partisan fighting. We should be talking about what we can accomplish together, and we should work hard to promote the impressive people of this region and what they offer to employers. We have great highways, rivers, rail, air. We live at the crossroads of America, and we need to work every day to show employers why they should take advantage of our outstanding workforce, our great geography, and the infrastructure that is already in place. We have some successful manufacturers here. We have some of the best agribusiness opportunities in the world. We have great preschool through post-graduate education. We can build on that, but we have the foundation in place to be an attractive location for any business. We need to get America working again, and it should start right here in Northwest Illinois. I am focused on getting that job done, not playing politics, and I’m asking you to send me to Washington, D.C. to make it happen.”
Kleine lives in Galesburg with his wife, Jeanette. They have four adult children, three daughters-in-law, and 3 young grandchildren who all live within the Illinois 17th Congressional District.