Bill Foster

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Bill Foster
Bill Foster.jpg
U.S. House, Illinois, District 11
In office
January 2013-Present
Term ends
January 3, 2015
Years in position 2
PredecessorAdam Kinzinger (R)
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First electedNovember 6, 2012
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Campaign $$12,182,689
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
U.S. House, Illinois, District 14
Bachelor'sUniversity of Wisconsin
Ph.D.Harvard University
Date of birthOct. 7, 1955
Place of birthMadison, Wisconsin
Net worth$17,715,510
Office website
Campaign website
Bill Foster campaign logo
Bill Foster (b. October 7, 1955, in Madison, Wisconsin) is a Democratic member of the U.S. House representing the 11th Congressional District of Illinois since 2013.

Foster was a Democratic member of the U.S. House representing the 14th District of Illinois, but was unseated in the 2010 election. He is one of nine individuals elected to U.S. House in 2012 who have prior congressional experience, and one of five House Democrats ousted in 2010 who came back to unseat freshman Republican members two years later.[1][2]

He ran for re-election to the U.S. House in 2014. He ran unopposed in the Democratic primary on March 18, 2014.[3] The general election took place November 4, 2014.

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Foster is an average Democratic member of Congress, meaning he will vote with the Democratic Party on the majority of bills.


Below is an abbreviated outline of Foster's academic, professional and political career[4]

  • 2013-Present: Representative, U.S. House, Illinois, District 11
  • 2008-2010: Representative U.S. House, Illinois, District 14
  • 1990-2006: Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), High-energy physicist and particle accelerator designer
  • 1975-2007: Co-founded Electronic Theatre Controls, Inc

Committee assignments

U.S. House


Foster serves on the following committees:[5][6]

Key votes

113th Congress

The second session of the 113th Congress enacted into law 114 out of the 3,036 introduced bills (3.8 percent). Comparatively, the 112th Congress had 4.2 percent of introduced bills enacted into law in the second session.[7] For more information pertaining to Foster's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.[8]

National security

DHS Appropriations

Voted "No" Foster voted against HR 2217 - the DHS Appropriations Act (2014) Act of 2014. The bill passed the House on June 6, 2013, with a vote of 245 - 182 and was largely along party lines.[9]

Keystone Pipeline Amendment

Voted "No" Foster voted against House Amendment 69, which would have amended HR 3 to "require that the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security, conduct a study of the vulnerabilities of the Keystone XL pipeline to a terrorist attack and certify that necessary protections have been put in place." The amendment failed on May 22, 2013, with a vote of 176 - 239 and was largely along party lines.[9]

CISPA (2013)

Voted "Yes" Foster voted in favor of HR 624 - the CISPA (2013). The bill passed the House on April 18, 2013, with a vote of 288 - 127. The bill would allow federal intelligence agencies to share cybersecurity intelligence and information with private entities and utilities.[10] The bill was largely supported by Republicans, but divided the Democratic Party.[9]


Voted "Yes" Foster voted in support of HR 1960 - the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014. The bill passed the House on June 14, 2013, with a vote of 315 - 108. Both parties were somewhat divided on the vote.[9]


Farm bill

Yea3.png On January 29, 2014, the U.S. House approved the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, H.R. 2642, also known as the Farm Bill.[11] The bill passed by a vote of 251-166. The nearly 1,000-page bill reformed and continued various programs of the Department of Agriculture through 2018. The $1 trillion bill expanded crop insurance for farmers by $7 billion over the next decade and created new subsidies for rice and peanut growers that would kick in when prices drop.[12][13] However, cuts to the food stamp program cut an average of $90 per month for 1.7 million people in 15 states.[13] Foster voted with 88 other Democratic representatives in favor of the bill.

2014 Budget

Yea3.png On January 15, 2014, the Republican-run House approved H.R. 3547, a $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the government through September 30, 2014.[14][15] The House voted 359-67 for the 1,582 page bill, with 64 Republicans and three Democrats voting against the bill.[15] The omnibus package included 12 annual spending bills to fund federal operations.[16] It included a 1 percent increase in the paychecks of federal workers and military personnel, a $1 billion increase in Head Start funding for early childhood education, reduced funding to the Internal Revenue Service and the Environmental Protection Agency, and the protection of the Affordable Care Act from any drastic cuts. Foster joined with the majority of the Democratic party and voted in favor of the bill.[14][15]

Government shutdown

See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Voted "No" On September 30, 2013, the House passed a final stopgap spending bill before the shutdown went into effect. The bill included a one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate and would have also stripped the bill of federal subsidies for congressional members and staff. It passed through the House with a vote of 228-201.[17] At 1 a.m. on October 1, 2013, one hour after the shutdown officially began, the House voted to move forward with going to a conference. In short order, Sen. Harry Reid rejected the call to conference.[18] Foster voted against the stopgap spending bill that would have delayed the individual mandate.[19]

Voted "Yes" The shutdown finally ended on October 16, 2013, when the House took a vote on HR 2775 after it was approved by the Senate. The bill to reopen the government lifted the $16.7 trillion debt limit and funded the government through January 15, 2014. Federal employees also received retroactive pay for the shutdown period. The only concession made by Senate Democrats was to require income verification for Obamacare subsidies.[20] The House passed the legislation shortly after the Senate, by a vote of 285-144, with all 144 votes against the legislation coming from Republican members. Foster voted for HR 2775.[21]


Morton Memos Prohibition

Voted "No" Foster voted against House Amendment 136 - Prohibits the Enforcement of the Immigration Executive Order. The amendment was adopted by the House on June 6, 2013, with a vote of 224 - 201. The purpose of the amendment as stated on the official text is to "prohibit the use of funds to finalize, implement, administer, or enforce the Morton Memos." These memos would have granted administrative amnesty to certain illegal aliens residing in the United States. The vote largely followed party lines.[9]


Healthcare Reform Rules

Voted "No" Foster voted against House Amendment 450 - Requires Congressional Approval for Any Rules Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The amendment was adopted by the House on August 2, 2013, with a vote of 227-185. The amendment requires all changes to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act be approved by Congress before taking effect. The vote was largely along party lines.[9]

Keep the IRS Off Your Healthcare Act

Voted "No" Foster voted against HR 2009 - Keep the IRS Off Your Healthcare Act of 2013. The bill passed through the House on August 2, 2013, with a vote of 232-185. The bill would prevent the IRS and Treasury Secretary from enforcing the powers provided to them in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The vote largely followed party lines.[9]

Social issues

Amash amendment

Voted "No" Foster voted against House Amendment 413 - Prohibits the National Security Agency from Collecting Records Under the Patriot Act. The amendment failed on July 4, 2013, by a vote of 205-217. The amendment would have prohibited the collection of records by the National Security Agency under the Patriot Act. Both parties were split on the vote.[9]

Previous congressional sessions

Specific votes

Rep. Foster voted for TARP.[22] According to a Gallup poll from September 13, 2010, 61% of Americans disapprove of TARP, while 37% approve.[23]

Foster also supported the auto bailout.[24] As of September 13, 2010: 56% of Americans disapproved of the auto bailout, while 43% supported it.[25]

In addition, Rep. Foster voted for the stimulus bill.[26] 57% of U.S. voters believe that the stimulus has either hurt the economy (36%) or had no impact (21%). 38% believe the stimulus helped the economy.[27]

Foster also voted in favor of the "Cash for Clunkers" bill.[28] According to a June 2009 Rasmussen Reports poll, 54% of likely U.S. voters opposed Cash for Clunkers, while 35% supported it.[29]

Finally, Foster voted in favor of the health care reform bill.[30] 57% of likely voters at least somewhat favor repeal of the health care reform bill, including 46% who strongly favor repeal. 35% of likely voters oppose repeal. 51% of likely voters believe the health care reform bill will be bad for the country, while 36% believe it will be beneficial.[31]


On The Issues Vote Match

Bill Foster's Vote Match results from On The Issues.
See also: On The Issues Vote Match

On The Issues conducts a VoteMatch analysis of all Congressional members based on 20 issue areas. Rather than relying on incumbents to complete the quiz themselves, the VoteMatch analysis is conducted using voting records, statements to the media, debate transcripts or citations from books authored by or about the candidate. Based on the results of the quiz, Foster is a Liberal Populist. Foster received a score of 49 percent on personal issues and 17 percent on economic issues.[32]

On The Issues organization logo.

The table below contains the results of analysis compiled by staff at On The Issues.

On The Issues Vote Quiz[33]
Economic Issues Social Issues
Issue Stance Issue Stance
Legally require hiring women & minorities Strongly Favors Abortion is a woman's unrestricted right Strongly Favors
Expand ObamaCare Strongly Favors Comfortable with same-sex marriage Favors
Vouchers for school choice Opposes Keep God in the public sphere Unknown
Absolute right to gun ownership Unknown Human needs over animal rights Neutral
Higher taxes on the wealthy Opposes Stricter punishment reduces crime Unknown
Support & expand free trade Strongly Opposes Pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens Oppposes
Stricter limits on political campaign funds Favors Maintain US sovereignty from UN Strongly Opposes
Prioritize green energy Favors Expand the military Unknown
Stimulus better than market-led recovery Strongly Favors Stay out of Iran Neutral
Privatize Social Security Strongly Opposes Never legalize marijuana Favors
Note: Information last updated: 2014.[32] If you notice the rating has changed, email us.


Pay during government shutdown

See also: United States budget debate, 2013#Government Shutdown and Default Prevention Act

Foster said in a statement on October 1, 2013, that “Until Congress ends this irresponsible shutdown, I will donate my pay to charity.”[34]

Closing of congressional gym

Foster and Patrick Murphy (D-FL) want the congressional gym closed until the shutdown impasse is over, and circulated a letter that would ask House Speaker John Boehner to deem the House spa non-essential for the duration of the shutdown.[35]

“Members of Congress should not enjoy access to their exclusive gym and spa while Capitol police go without pay, children are being turned away from Head Start and veterans are left wondering if their benefits will come in the mail on November 1st,” said Foster in a statement.[35]

“Despite Speaker Boehner’s refusal to reopen the government by bringing a clean CR to the House floor, he believes members of Congress should still receive congressional perks,” the two Democrats wrote to colleagues on October 9, 2013. “He has deemed the congressional spa used by Members of the House of Representatives to be ‘essential’ during the shutdown...Not only are members still able to access the taxpayer-funded gym, sauna and steam room while tens of thousands of federal employees remain furloughed, janitorial staff are still required to clean the gym and restock it with towels and other ‘essential items,’” Murphy and Foster said in the letter.[35]

The two members have to introduce the Shutdown Prioritization Act, or the SPA Act, that would prohibit the Architect of the Capitol from keeping the congressional gym open.[35]

Eva Malecki, a communications officer for the Architect of the Capitol, said: “When Members join the gym they are given key fobs that permit them to access the facility. The decision not to lock Members out was made because they keep personal items there, but Members have been made aware that the facility will be unstaffed until the government reopens, as its employees are paid with appropriated funds, which are unavailable during the shutdown.”[35]

Many members sleep in their offices when Congress is in session and use the House gym to shower rather than obtaining a Washington D.C. apartment.[35]

Campaign themes


Foster's major campaign themes included:[36]

  • Moving the Economy Forward
  • Creating Jobs
  • Reviving American Manufacturing
  • Reforming Wall Street
  • Fiscal Responsibility
  • Energy that is Safe, Secure, and Affordable
  • Healthcare
  • Science and Technology
  • Education



See also: Illinois' 11th Congressional District elections, 2014

Foster ran for re-election to the U.S. House in 2014. He ran unopposed in the Democratic primary on March 18, 2014.[3] The general election took place November 4, 2014.


See also: Illinois' 11th Congressional District elections, 2012

Foster defeated Republican candidate Judy Biggert for the open seat.[37] Foster ran in the 2012 election for the U.S. House to represent Illinois' 11th District. Foster ran on the Democratic ticket.[38] The signature filing deadline was December 27, 2011, with the primary taking place on March 20, 2012.

Foster defeated candidates James Hickey and Juan Thomas in the Democratic primary on March 20, 2012.[39] Judy Biggert ran unopposed in the Republican primary.[39] Foster defeated Biggert in the general election on November 6, 2012.

U.S. House, Illinois District 11 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngBill Foster 58.6% 148,928
     Republican Judy Biggert Incumbent 41.4% 105,348
Total Votes 254,276
Source: Illinois Board of Elections "2012 General Election Official Vote Totals"
U.S. House, Illinois District 11 Democratic Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngBill Foster 58.5% 12,126
Juan Thomas 25.1% 5,212
Jim Hickey 16.4% 3,399
Total Votes 20,737


In a debate held against Judy Biggert on Saturday October 13 2012, candidates went back and forth on careers, voting histories and choices made in office. While both sides made accusations that the other did not support the district in certain ways or made bad choices, both agreed on certain areas which need continued help. Budget concerns and Medicare were the main topics of debate between the two candidates.[40]

Full history


District 11 Representative Election
Poll Judy Biggert Bill FosterUndecidedSample Size
"District 11 Poll"
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Foster is available dating back to 2008. Based on available campaign finance records, Foster raised a total of $12,182,689 during that time period. This information was last updated on April 5, 2013.[43]

Bill Foster's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 U.S. House (Illinois, District 11) Won $3,460,892
2010 U.S. House (Illinois, District 14) Defeated $3,804,082
2008 U.S. House (Illinois, District 14) Won $4,917,715
Grand Total Raised $12,182,689


Candidates for Congress are required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Foster's reports.[44]


Breakdown of the source of Foster's campaign funds before the 2012 election.

Foster won election to the U.S. House in 2012. During that election cycle, Foster's campaign committee raised a total of $3,460,892 and spent $3,532,806.[53] This is more than the average $1.5 million spent by House winners in 2012.[54]

Cost per vote

Foster spent $23.72 per vote received in 2012.

As of July 10, 2012, Foster raised $475,000 in the second quarter, and had $1.3 million in cash-on-hand.[55]

On October 15, 2012, quarterly reports were submitted by campaigns to the Federal Election Commission. The political blog Daily Kos did an analysis of the fundraising figures and found Democratic challenger Bill Foster outraised Republican incumbent Judy Biggert in the third quarter. Foster raised $642,000 to Biggert's $624,000.[56]

Personal Gain Index

Congressional Personal Gain Index graphic.png
See also: Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress)

The Personal Gain Index (U.S. Congress) is a four-part measurement that illustrates the extent to which members of the U.S. Congress have personally benefited from their tenure as public servants.
It consists of four different metrics pioneered by the Government Accountability Institute:

  • The Net Worth Metric
  • The K-Street Metric (coming soon)
  • The Donation Concentration Metric (coming soon)
  • The Stock Oversight and Trades Metric (coming soon)

PGI: Net worth

See also: Net worth of United States Senators and Representatives
Net Worth Metric graphic.png

Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, Foster's net worth as of 2012 was estimated between $6,666,020 and $28,765,000. That averages to $17,715,510, which is higher than the average net worth of Democratic representatives in 2012 of $5,700,168.36. Foster ranked as the 36th most wealthy representative in 2012.[57] Between 2007 and 2012, Foster's calculated net worthCite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag

Bill Foster Yearly Net Worth
YearAverage Net Worth
Growth from 2007 to 2012:-26%
Average annual growth:-5%[58]
Comparatively, the American citizen experienced a median yearly decline in net worth of -0.94%.[59]
The data used to calculate changes in net worth may include changes resulting from assets gained through marriage, inheritance, changes in family estates and/or trusts, changes in family business ownership and many other variables unrelated to a member's behavior in Congress.


Ideology and leadership

See also: GovTrack's Political Spectrum & Legislative Leadership ranking

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Foster is a "rank-and-file Democrat," as of June 17, 2013.[60]

Like-minded colleagues

The website OpenCongress tracks the voting records of each member to determine with whom he or she votes most and least often. The results include a member from each party.[61]

Foster most often votes with:

Foster least often votes with:

National Journal vote ratings

See also: National Journal vote ratings

Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted in the previous year.


Information on 2012 vote rating is unavailable.

Lifetime voting record

See also: Lifetime voting records of United States Senators and Representatives

According to the website GovTrack, Foster missed 17 of 2,319 roll call votes from March 2008 to March 2013. This amounts to 0.7%, which is better than the median of 2.2% among current congressional representatives as of March 2013.[62]

Voting with party


Bill Foster voted with the Democratic Party 89.1% of the time, which ranked 174th among the 201 House Democratic members as of June 2013.[63]


Foster lives in Naperville, Illinois, with his wife Aesook, who is also a physicist. Foster has two grown children, Billy and Christine.[64]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Bill + Foster + Illinois + House

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Bill Foster News Feed

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See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. The New York Times, "Election brings seasoned politicians to congress," accessed December 8, 2012
  2. The Washington Post, "Political comeback kids to take seats again in the House," accessed November 18, 2012
  3. 3.0 3.1 Associated Press, "Primary Election 2014," accessed March 18, 2014
  4. National Journal, "Illinois, 11th House District," accessed November 6, 2012
  5., "House Committee Rosters for the 113th Congress," accessed March 3, 2013
  6. U.S. House of Representatives, "Committee Assignments," accessed March 29, 2014
  7. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, First Session of the 112th Congress," accessed September 5, 2013
  8. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, Second Session of the 113th Congress," accessed March 4, 2014
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 Project Vote Smart, "Bill Foster Key Votes," accessed October 11, 2013
  10. The Library of Congress, "H.R.624 CISPA (2013) (Referred in Senate - RFS)," accessed August 27, 2013
  11. Clerk of U.S. House, "Roll Call Vote 31: H.R. 2642," accessed February 12, 2014
  12. Politico, "House clears farm bill," accessed February 12, 2014
  13. 13.0 13.1 NY Times, "Senate Passes Long-Stalled Farm Bill, With Clear Winners and Losers," accessed February 12, 2014
  14. 14.0 14.1, "House passes compromise $1.1 trillion budget for 2014," accessed January 20, 2014
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 U.S. House, "Roll Call Vote 21," accessed January 20, 2014
  16. Roll Call, "House passes $1.1 trillion omnibus," accessed January 20, 2014
  17. Clerk of the U.S. House, "Final vote results for Roll Call 504," accessed October 31, 2013
  18. Buzzfeed, "Government Shutdown: How We Got Here," accessed October 1, 2013
  19. Clerk of the U.S. House, "Final vote results for Roll Call 504," accessed October 31, 2013
  20. The Washington Post, "Reid, McConnell propose bipartisan Senate bill to end shutdown, extend borrowing," accessed October 16, 2013
  21. U.S. House, "Final vote results for Roll Call 550," accessed October 31, 2013
  22. U.S. House, "Roll Vote 681," accessed 2010
  23. Gallup, "Among Recent Bills, Financial Reform a Lone Plus for Congress," accessed September 13, 2010
  24. US House Clerk, "Roll Call 690," accessed December 10, 2008
  25. Gallup, "Among Recent Bills, Financial Reform a Lone Plus for Congress," accessed September 13, 2010
  26. US House Clerk, "Roll Call 46," accessed January 28, 2009
  27. Rasmussen Reports, "38% Say Stimulus Plan Helped Economy, 36% Say It Hurt," accessed August 24, 2010
  28. US House Clerk, "Roll Call 314," accessed June 9, 2009
  29. Rasmussen Reports, "54% Oppose “Cash for Clunkers" Plan To Spur Purchase of Greener Cars," accessed June 23, 2009
  30. US House Clerk, "Roll Call 165," accessed March 21, 2010
  31. Rasmussen Reports, "61% Favor Repeal of Healthcare Law," accessed September 20, 2010
  32. 32.0 32.1 On The Issues, "Bill Foster Vote Match," accessed June 26, 2014
  33. The questions in the quiz are broken down into two sections -- social and economic. In social questions, liberals and libertarians agree in choosing the less-government answers, while conservatives and populists agree in choosing the more restrictive answers. For the economic questions, conservatives and libertarians agree in choosing the less-government answers, while liberals and populists agree in choosing the more restrictive answers.
  34. Washington Post, "Which lawmakers will refuse their pay during the shutdown?," accessed October 3, 2013
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 35.3 35.4 35.5 Politico, "Democrats demand House gym’s closing," accessed October 9, 2013
  36. Bill Foster for Congress, "Issues," accessed December 30, 2011
  37. Politico, "2012 Election Map, Illinois," accessed 2012
  38. Chicago Sun-Times, "Illinois Congress 2012: Bill Foster running in new 11th District UPDATE GOP react," accessed December 5, 2011
  39. 39.0 39.1 ABC News 7, "Election Results Primary 2012," accessed March 20, 2012
  40. Chicago Tribune, "Suburban congressional candidates square off in debate," accessed October 13, 2012
  41. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013
  42. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 2008," accessed March 28, 2013
  43. Open Secrets, "Bill Foster" accessed April 5, 2013
  44. Federal Election Commission, "Bill Foster 2014 Summary reports," accessed July 24, 2013
  45. Federal Election Commission, "April Quarterly," accessed July 24, 2013
  46. Federal Election Commission, "July Quarterly," accessed July 24, 2013
  47. Federal Election Commission, "October Quarterly," accessed October 23, 2013
  48. Federal Election Commission, "Year End Report," accessed February 11, 2014
  49. Federal Election Commission, "Pre-Primary," accessed April 23, 2014
  50. Federal Election Commission, "April Quarterly," accessed April 21, 2014
  51. Federal Election Commission, "July Quarterly," accessed October 14, 2014
  52. Federal Election Commission, "October Quarterly," accessed October 20, 2014
  53. Open Secrets, "Bill Foster 2012 Election Cycle," accessed February 22, 2013
  54. Open Secrets, "Election 2012: The Big Picture Shows Record Cost of Winning a Seat in Congress," accessed June 19, 2013
  55. Chicago Business, "Money pouring into area congressional races," accessed July 13, 2012
  56. Daily Kos, "Third quarter House fundraising: who's got the cash?," accessed October 18, 2012
  57. OpenSecrets, "Foster (D-IL), 2012," accessed February 18, 2014
  58. This figure represents the total percentage growth divided by the number of years for which there are net worth figures for each member.
  59. This figure was calculated using median asset data from the Census Bureau. Please see the Congressional Net Worth data for Ballotpedia spreadsheet for more information on this calculation.
  60. GovTrack, "Bill Foster," accessed June 17, 2013
  61. OpenCongress, "Rep. Bill Foster," accessed August 1, 2013
  62. GovTrack, "Bill Foster," accessed April 1, 2013
  63. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  64. Bill Foster for Congress, "About," accessed December 30, 2011
Political offices
Preceded by
Adam Kinzinger (R)
U.S. House of Representatives - Illinois, District 10
Succeeded by
Preceded by
U.S. House of Representatives - Illinois, District 14
Succeeded by
Randy Hultgren (R)