BATAVIA—Congressman J. Dennis Hastert announced today that he will not seek reelection for a 12th term in the U.S. House of Representatives. (hoorah)
Hastert has been representing the Illinois 14th Congressional District which includes Bureau, DeKalb, Henry, Kane, Kendall and Lee Counties since 1987. In 1999 he was elected Speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives, the third highest elected official in the U.S. government and he served in that position until January 3, 2007— the longest-serving Republican Speaker in history.
"It was a great personal privilege and honor for this former teacher and wrestling coach to have been elected and to have served the American people," said Hastert.
"I am grateful for the trust placed in me as an elected official and it has been a true honor to have had the opportunity to serve the people of the 14th District all these years. I am immensely proud of all my accomplishments as a congressman and as Speaker—but I did not do this alone. This all happened because of the continued support I received from my constituents, my friends and my colleagues.
"We worked together to pass legislation, to provide a service or to meet the need of those we served. We fought for our beliefs and worked to improve our communities, our district and our country. I am grateful for what we accomplished together and I thank you all for working with me to make a difference and to make history."
During his legislative career, Hastert dedicated much of his efforts towards bringing needed resources to his district. He made quality health care more accessible and affordable. Hastert worked with schools to improve education. He assisted and supported Police and Fire First Responders’ efforts and brought the resources they needed to respond to crises and protect residents. He addressed local community challenges such as the thorium cleanup in West Chicago. Hastert advocated for local use of alternative fuel sources and assisted Fermi National Laboratory in advancing its physics research. He responded to the growth in his district by bringing resources to build roads and bridges and to expand the Metra service.
As Speaker he was a unifying leader who embraced his role with enthusiasm and determination. Hastert worked hard to make a real difference in people’s lives. He eliminated the Social Security Earnings test and provided for Health Savings Accounts. He provided Medicare prescription drug coverage for senior citizens who desperately needed the assistance. He delivered the two largest tax cuts in American history and was instrumental in passing significant anti-terrorism legislation to protect the American people.
Hastert a former government, history and economics teacher and a wresting coach began his political career when he was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1980 and served three terms.