The latest Democrat to enter the crowded race to challenge Republican Rep. Rodney Davis next year says he’s a “bulldog” with a track record of fighting government and corporate wrongdoing.
Erik Jones of Edwardsville announced plans this week to run for the 13th Congressional District, which includes parts of Bloomington-Normal. Davis has represented the 13th District since 2013.
Jones is a former Illinois assistant attorney general who worked on behalf of consumers. He previously worked in Washington, D.C., as a congressional investigator. He’s now working as an attorney in private practice.
One of Jones’ most memorable cases in Washington was uncovering that FEMA ignored the toxic levels of formaldehyde in trailers it provided to victims of Hurricane Katrina.
“For me that was a really seminal moment in my life, doing this work. I realized our government is going to fail us from time to time, just like all institutions. You’ve gotta have people who are willing to ask tough questions and are willing to fight for it. If you’re doing that, you can actually make a difference,” Jones said during an interview on GLT's Sound Ideas.
The sprawling 13th District stretches from Bloomington-Normal all the way south to Edwardsville, covering many rural, Republican-leaning areas. It includes parts or all of 14 counties. Jones said the race—certainly to attract big money from national Republican and Democratic campaign funds—is winnable for a Democrat. Jones was born and raised in Centralia.
“People are just tired of the system not working for them. That’s not about being a Republican or a Democrat. What the people want to see are individuals who are going to Congress to be bulldogs for them and not a bunch of backslappers,” said Jones, repeating his campaign’s bulldogs-backslappers line. “People just want a fair shake, it’s not about being a Democrat or a Republican.”
There are at least four other Democrats planning to run in March’s primary:
- Former Democratic fundraiser Betsy Dirksen Londrigan of Springfield
- Dr. David Gill of Bloomington
- University High School teacher Benjamin Webb
- Jonathan Ebel from the Department of Religion at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
You can also listen to GLT's full interview with Jones.
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