14th District Rep. Underwood opens campaign with petition signing event in Ottawa

Congresswoman will run in newly-drawn district that includes Ottawa, La Salle-Peru

U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Naperville) visited Ottawa’s Fox River Park on Sunday afternoon seeking signatures on petitions to have her name placed on the Democratic side of the ballot for the new 14th District.

While Underwood currently represents the 14th, which covers the western suburbs through Kendall, Kane and McHenry counties, the district’s boundaries have been re-drawn to include Joliet, Ottawa and DeKalb along with portions of Aurora and Naperville, Underwood’s hometown.

Underwood said she ran for Congress in 2018 after former U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Plano) said he wouldn’t support an Obamacare repeal that allowed people with pre-existing conditions to keep their healthcare coverage.

“I was a nurse in my prior life,” Underwood said. “I worked on the (Affordable Care Act) and I have a preexisting condition myself. When he made that promise, I believed him. It was personal, and then a few weeks later, he voted for the American Health Care Act.”

The American Health Care Act is a version of the repeal that did the opposite of what Hultgren promised.

Underwood defeated six other candidates in the Democratic primary and then Hultgren in November 2018, becoming the first woman and person of color to represent the district and the youngest Black woman elected to Congress.

Underwood said making history is important and she gets excited when she meets little girls that see her and say “I can do this,” but she also has a track record of reaching across the aisle to get legislation signed by both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.

“Everything from lowering out of pocket healthcare costs for people who get their healthcare coverage through Obamacare, and it’s my law that has enabled four out of five Americans to purchase healthcare plans for less than $10 a month as part of the American Rescue Plan,” Underwood said.

Underwood said she has also passed several pieces of legislation that aim to create more aid for veterans, along with bringing more than $1 billion in resources to her district.

“I’m excited to have this opportunity to get to know these new communities,” Underwood said. “I know we can bring additional opportunities to families here in Northern Illinois.”

The 14th District’s new boundaries sit near the area designated as Stoneyville south of Ottawa, and follows a line until it dips down to just north of the Tonica. Hennepin and Bureau Junction area along the western boundary, and Sycamore is the northern boundary. The district includes Ottawa, La Salle and Peru.

Underwood will need 0.5% of qualified primary voters in the new 14th District in order to get her name on the ballot. She is the lone Democrat petitioning for the primary at this time.

The primary election will be held June 28.