A native to the Illinois landscape, Dennis Hastert is serving in his ninth term as the Republican Congressman for Illinois' 14 th Congressional District.
Born in Aurora, he grew up in Oswego and earned degrees from Wheaton College and Northern Illinois University. After 16 years of teaching and coaching at Yorkville High School, he served in the Illinois House of Representatives for six years before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1986. In 1999, Hastert's colleagues honored him by electing him Speaker of the House, the third highest government official in the United States.
Known for his reputation in reaching across the aisle to develop bipartisan legislation, Hastert is well respected by both the Democratic and Republican parties. Throughout his legislative career, Speaker Hastert has drawn from his prior experience of a wrestling coach, emphasizing teambuilding and setting clear-cut, achievable goals. The Speaker has since remained committed to the goals he laid out during his first term as Speaker and his accomplishments in Congress prove this.
The 107th Congress was successful in enacting landmark education reform, far-reaching election reform, and completing work on the most significant tax relief in a generation. Furthermore, in response to the tragic attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, Congress passed historic legislation by creating a Department of Homeland Security - the most significant restructuring of the federal government in the last 50 years. With this new department, and with the passage of anti-terrorism legislation designed to mitigate the threat of terrorist activities, the President has the tools he needs to help ensure that the safety and security of our homeland will not be compromised again.
During his years in Congress, Hastert has championed legislation to balance the federal budget, cut taxes and government waste and clean up the environment. Hastert led the nationwide fight to repeal the unfair Social Security Earnings Limit that kept millions of senior citizens from working - a project finally accomplished during his Speakership in the 106th Congress. Hastert also has passed legislation to reduce big government regulations in areas such as trucking and telecommunications in order to increase competition and consumer choice. In addition, he has fought to preserve safe groundwater standards by successfully working for the removal and proper disposal of 21 million cubic feet of low-level thorium waste in West Chicago, Illinois, and by blocking a proposed garbage dump that would threaten the Fox Valley's groundwater supply.
Congressman Hastert has continued to build on his record of accomplishment for all his constituents. During the most recent Congress, he successfully supported a full-funding agreement with the U.S. Department of Transportation that will expand Metra train service in the 14th District. He secured dozens of federal grants for district communities and organizations that will assist with everything from bolstering police services to protecting district farmland. Hastert also successfully sponsored legislation in 2002 to designate the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home in Dixon a National Historic Site. Signed by President George Bush on Reagan's 91st birthday, the legislation ensures that the property will be maintained as a legacy to our 40th President.
Prior to Congress, during the 1980s, Hastert served three terms in the Illinois General Assembly, where he spearheaded legislation on child abuse prevention, property tax reform, educational excellence and economic development. While there, he also led an effort that resulted in the adoption of a new public utilities act, reforming the law to benefit Illinoisans.
Born on January 2, 1942, Hastert is a 1964 graduate of Wheaton (IL) College where he earned a bachelor's degree in economics. He attended graduate school at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, where he earned a master's degree in the philosophy of education in 1967. Hastert lives in Yorkville, Illinois, along the Fox River with his wife Jean. They have two grown sons, Ethan and Joshua who live and work in Washington, DC. Whenever he can find free time, Hastert enjoys attending wrestling meets, going fishing, restoring vintage automobiles, carving and painting duck decoys.