By fall, the months-long vacancy in the 18th Congressional District will be over. And the new Congressman may not be from Peoria, and he may not be a Republican.
Democrats Rob Mellon, a teacher from Quincy, and Adam Lopez, an insurance agent from Springfield, are in the July 7 primary. Mellon is also an Army veteran, while Lopez serves on the public school board in Springfield.
“There’s a lot of libraries (and ) school districts that do not have Internet service at all,” says Lopez, adding he would ask for legislation to levy upon phone users a 32-cent fee per month to help fund broadband access.
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“We have to create a situation where we have economic development right here in Central Illinois,” says Mellon. “Our manufacturing base has deteriorated over time.”
The district was formerly represented by Aaron Schock, whose spending attracted the wrong kind of attention; he quit in the spring. State Sen. Darin LaHood (R-Dunlap) is seen as the front-runner in this race, and the Democrats can’t resist mentioning him. Lopez says LaHood is not his (moderate) father, seven-term U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood. Lopez wants unions to know they will have no friend in LaHood the younger.
Mellon says LaHood has raised so much money so quickly that one must question the strings on him; Mellon is blissfully unencumbered by such profligate fund-raising. LaHood is one of three Republicans in the race, which features a July 7 primary and Sept. 10 general election.  
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