'Outsider' Kleine formally files for 17th Congressional District run
Mark Kleine has filed to run for Congress in Illinois' 17th District, challenging U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL).
Raised in the Quad Cities area, Kleine worked for John Deere before starting his own business, according to a press release from Kleine posted on Facebook. After running an equipment company, he began running a property development business with his wife, Jeanette.
Kleine is one of many new candidates who have already filed paperwork to secure a place on the ballot in March.
"The paperwork is filed to make it official and we are off to a good start," Kleine said in the release. "We have attracted a following that has helped us get on the ballot, raise money, and spread the message of my campaign – that we need effective representation from citizen legislators instead of more gridlock from career politicians."
Kleine said in the release that he had a lot of grassroots support.
"Getting on the ballot takes some work, and we wanted to make a strong showing," Kleine said in the release. "We had a lot of great volunteer help and filed over 1,400 signatures so we exceeded our goal once again. We were all over the district and I enjoyed being out meeting new people, hearing their stories, and sharing my own background in business and community development."
This is Klein's first time running for office, and he said in the release that he has learned a lot so far.
"[T]his was fascinating to me as an outsider," Kleine said in the release. "It really was a living civics lesson. It was encouraging to see passionate people, from both sides of the aisle, standing in line together to pursue the common goal of public service. Our country needs more of that, not less, and I love being part of it. I’m looking forward to campaigning, hearing the concerns of the voters, and focusing on how we can work together to move our country forward and create prosperity for all of us."
Kleine has been engaged in building the local community in Galesburg, participating in a range of local development projects. In a recent interview with Rock Island Today, Kleine talked about how he wants to focus on job growth and help with economic vibrancy in the community.
“I'm running on jobs, jobs and jobs,” Kleine told Rock Island Today in September.
In a previous statement, Kleine spoke about his outlook on partisan politics.
“I have seen what vision and commitment to our local area can do to improve things,” Kleine wrote. “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.”