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Roskam seeks support in majority whip bid

Published: Sunday, June 15, 2014 4:37 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 4:16 p.m. CDT
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U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Wheaton, represents Illinois' 6th District

WHEATON – In a letter to the House Republican Conference last week, U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, R - Wheaton, asked his peers for support in a bid to become the party's next house majority whip.

The position will likely be open after former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor ended his reelection bid following a surprising loss in the his district Republican primary to economics professor Dave Brat, according to media reports.

Cantor, who has served as a Virginia state representatives since 2001 and as House Majority Leader since 2011, said he would resign from his position effective July 31.

California congressman and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy is expected to take his place after a party leadership election Thursday, reports said.

Roskam, who has been chief deputy majority whip since 2010, is hoping to fill the remaining political void.

"I’m asking for your support because I have the capability and experience to serve at this critical time, and because I can help lead us in the battle of ideas as we fight for the direction, the very heart and soul, of our country," he wrote in the letter sent Friday.

Roskam pointed to his three-and-a-half years of experience navigating the issues of spending, healthcare and taxes and fighting "government intrusion and heavy handedness" as items in his favor.

"We haven’t always worked as a team. In some situations, we haven’t scored any points, or won the match," he said. "This has been a deeply frustrating experience to watch our economy and our core values backslide under the onslaught of President Obama and Harry Reid’s class warfare and welfare state agenda. But I’m here to tell you, we don’t have to live this way."

Roskam described the Republican Conference as a "heroic majority" and called on the party to articulate a vision for the future of the country.

He cited the work of Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence, saying the party needs to focus on incremental wins to achieve its goals.

Roskam quoted Jefferson in a letter he wrote to Rev. Charles Clay in 1790, which says that “the ground of liberty is to be gained by inches. We must be contented to secure what we can get from time to time and eternally press forward for what is yet to get. It takes time to persuade men to do even what is for their own good.”

The congressman also pledged to name a representative from a red state as his chief deputy to "ensure the broadest possible voices in the Conference are heard" and to increase regional diversity in the party.

Roskam will likely be contested by fellow Republicans Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Marlin Stutzman of Indiana, should McCarthy move on to majority leader, according to reports.

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