Peter Roskam: Wikis


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Peter Roskam

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 6th district
Assumed office 
January 3, 2007
Preceded by Henry Hyde

Member of the Illinois Senate
from the 20th/48th district
In office
January 15, 2000 – January 3, 2007
Preceded by Beverly Fawell
Succeeded by Randy Hultgren

Member of the Illinois House of Representatives
from the 40th district
In office
January 13, 1993 – January 12, 1998
Succeeded by Randy Hultgren

Born September 13, 1961 (1961-09-13) (age 48)
Hinsdale, Illinois
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Elizabeth Roskam
Residence Wheaton, Illinois
Alma mater University of Illinois, Chicago-Kent College of Law
Occupation attorney, political assistant
Religion Anglican Mission in America

Peter James Roskam (born September 13, 1961 in Hinsdale, Illinois), is a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives since 2007, succeeding 16-term Republican Henry Hyde. Roskam is a former member of the Illinois General Assembly, representing Illinois' 40th House District and later Illinois' 48th Senate District.


Personal history

Roskam was born in Hinsdale, Illinois. He was the fourth of five children and was raised in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, graduating from Glenbard West High School. Roskam received his B.A. in political science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his J.D. from the Chicago-Kent College of Law.

In 1984, Roskam taught history and government at All Saints High School in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. From 1985 to 1986, Roskam served as a legislative assistant to Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX),[1] and from 1986 to 1987 as a legislative assistant to Rep. Hyde. [1][2] In the late 1980s, Roskam served as the Executive Director of Educational Assistance Ltd., a scholarship program for disadvantaged children founded by his father in 1982.[3] In 1992, Roskam was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives, serving from 1993 to 1999. In 2000, he was appointed by DuPage County Republican leaders to replace the retiring Beverly Fawell[4] in the Illinois State Senate where he served until his election to the U.S. House of Representatives. Roskam resides in Wheaton, Illinois with his wife Elizabeth and their four children.

Roskam was a partner in the law firm Salvi, Roskam & Maher, a personal injury firm. He was named "Best Oral Advocate" by the American College of Trial Lawyers. The firm, now called Salvi & Maher, is politically notable because former Republican Senate candidate Al Salvi and former Republican House candidate Kathy Salvi are also partners in the firm. The Chicago Tribune noted that Roskam earned over $615,000 in 2005 as a personal injury trial lawyer.[5]

After his parents took a trip to Vietnam and saw American veterans' dog tags for sale on the street, Roskam, along with his parents worked to return the dog tags to their owners or the families of the deceased.[6]

Illinois General Assembly

Peter Roskam served in the Illinois General Assembly as a Representative from 1993 to 1998, and Senator from 2000 to 2006. In the Senate, Roskam served as the Republican Whip, the Republican spokesman on the Executive Committee, and a member of the Rules Committee, Environment and Energy Committee, Insurance and Pensions Committee, and Judiciary Committee. In the Senate, Roskam sponsored legislation giving the Supreme Court of Illinois authority to reverse a death penalty sentence, has sponsored legislation increasing the penalties for repeat D.U.I. offenders, and was the lead sponsor of a law to maintain courts' power to hold deadbeat parents in contempt to ensure child support.[2] Roskam has authored or co-authored fourteen bills to cut taxes.[7]

Roskam asked the Illinois Comptroller's office for a list of state employees in 1998, when Al Salvi was running for Illinois Secretary of State . At the time, Roskam told the Chicago Tribune that the request was for personal use. However, according to a report in the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, Roskam gave the list to Salvi, who used the list to send numbered campaign fundraising tickets to state employees. The numbering allowed the campaign to keep track of who contributed and who didn't.[8]

In January 2005, Roskam fought amending the Illinois Human Rights Act to include sexual orientation on the grounds that it would require churches and religious organizations to hire homosexuals.[9] However, the act contains an explicit exemption for churches and religious organizations.[10] The Illinois Senate passed the amendment 30-27-1[11] and on January 1, 2006, Illinois became the 16th state to have such a law.[12]

In November 2004, Roskam voted against State Comptroller Dan Hynes's $1 billion proposal to raise taxes on cosmetic surgery to fund stem cell research.[13] The proposal was defeated 29-28-1 in the Illinois Senate.[14][15]

Congressional service

Roskam attends a Memorial Day service in the 6th district.

Peter Roskam has voted with the House Republicans 93.3% of the time during the current Congress.[16]

Roskam and Arizona Democrat Gabrielle Giffords are periodically interviewed together on NPR's All Things Considered as to their experiences as freshmen members of Congress. [17]

Committee assignments

Political positions

Roskam attends the opening of the first Hydrogen fueling station in Illinois. [18]


In March 2007, Roskam announced a $3 million Department of Energy grant to the Des Plaines-based Gas Technology Institute (GTI).[19] In June 2007, Roskam supported a bill (H. R. 2619) to authorize $2.5 million per year for 2009-2011 to establish and operate an ethanol anti-idling power unit research program. Roskam noted that GTI would be eligible for the grant[20] as would any other 501(c)(3) organization that "has performed energy-related research." No further action was taken on the bill in 2007 after it was referred to Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation in mid June.[21]

Later, Roskam voted against legislation boosting automobile fuel economy requirements to an industry average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020. The bill also encouraged the use of renewable fuels. [22] On June 24, 2008, Roskam voted against H.R. 6346: The Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act. The bill failed when it was voted on following a suspension of normal rules to stop debate and it required a 2/3 vote to pass.[23][24] Opponents of the bill said that price gouging is not widespread and that it is difficult to prove that it occurred.[25] Roskam stated he voted against the bill as a protection of the free market. [26]

Roskam, with Rep. John Shimkus, has proposed the Energy VISION Act that promises to all-but end America's foreign energy addiction within 15 years. According to the Baltimore Sun, "The plan mixes conservation and alternative fuel production with aggressive domestic energy exploration, including drilling offshore and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and opening vast swaths of land to oil shale development." [27]

Gun politics

Roskam sponsored a bill in the state Senate which would have allowed retired military and police personnel to carry concealed weapons. He has gained the endorsement of the National Rifle Association (NRA), for being a supporter of gun rights. On July 15, 2006, Roskam was the featured guest at an NRA support rally for him in Addison, Illinois.[28]

While in the state Senate, Roskam sponsored gun legislation with two major components. One part called for the destruction of background check records within 90 days of a gun's purchase. The other part closed the so-called "gun show loophole" by requiring background checks on potential gun purchasers at gun shows. The Tribune noted that gun-control advocates were supportive of closing the gun-show loophole; however, Roskam received criticism from police for the proposed destruction of background check records. Police use those records to investigate straw purchasers who buy guns for criminals and to prepare themselves when serving a warrant or making an arrest at a home.[29]

Health care

Peter Roskam opposes abortion except in cases where the life of the mother is at risk, making no exceptions for cases of rape or incest.[30][31]

In his first year in Congress, Roskam secured "more than $50 million federal dollars…to expand health care facilities and programs and improve traffic congestion." This included $195,000 to fund the expansion of the new emergency room at Adventist GlenOaks Hospital in Glendale Heights and $243,000 to expand mental health programs at the Access Community Health Network’s Martin T. Russo Family Health Center in Bloomingdale.[32]

On September 25, 2007, Roskam voted with the majority of his party against expanding the State Children's Health Insurance Program. This bill would have increased funding for the program to $60 billion over the next five years and provided health insurance for 9 million uninsured American children. The bill passed Congress but was vetoed by President Bush.[33]


In interviews on National Public Radio, Roskam stated his opposition to the Senate's Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 and stated support for the House immigration reform bill, H.R. 4437 the Border Protection, Anti-terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005. During the interviews he claimed his constituency did not support amnesty and wanted stronger border security.[34] [35]

The Iraq War

On September 21, 2006, Roskam said that the U.S. should "stay the course" and that U.S. troops should not return home until Iraq is safe.[36] He criticized his opponent Tammy Duckworth's views on withdrawal, saying "the Sixth District is not a cut-and-run district." On October 23, 2006, Roskam said it was a mistake the U.S. didn't go in with full force in Iraq. Later, Roskam expressed support for quarterly status reports to Congress on Iraqi troop training.[37]

Roskam supported the 2007 escalation in troops in Iraq, saying: "There are encouraging reports coming out of Iraq that Baghdad is becoming more secure, and the insurgency is being mitigated. This is a pivotal time. Iraqis need to seize this opportunity to provide security for themselves so we can begin to reduce our troop numbers on the ground."[38]

Local issues

According to his website, Roskam opposes plans to expand O'Hare International Airport, and instead favors building a third regional airport in Chicago's southern suburbs.[39] However, O'Hare expansion has begun during Roskam's tenure and the new runway is scheduled to open on November 20, 2008.

On July 1, 2008, Roskam announced plans to introduce legislation preventing the acquisition of the EJ&E Railway by the CN Railway by designating "a 36-mile stretch of the EJ&E as a Corridor for Inter-Suburban Commuter Rail" for use in Metra's STAR line.[40] Roskam introduced H.R. 6476 on July 10, 2008 with co-sponsors Judy Biggert and Donald A. Manzullo.[41] Roskam claims this would be the nation's first suburb to suburb commuter rail line.[42]

Roskam adamantly opposes President Obama's planned relocation of Guantanamo Bay detention camp inmates to Thomson Correctional Center in Thompson, Illinois, calling it "a misguided decision that will ultimately be regretted."[43]

Social Security and Medicare

On May 20, 2005, Roskam and six other Illinois senators missed a vote in the Illinois Senate on a non-binding resolution urging the United States Congress to protect Social Security and reject private accounts. The resolution passed 32-19-1, but no action was taken in the Illinois House.[44] Roskam has said in a WBBM post debate press conference, "I am against privatizing Social Security, I am against raising taxes for Social Security benefits, and I'm against benefit reductions for Social Security.[45]

According to a direct mailing by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), Peter Roskam will protect Social Security by opposing any plans that reduce benefits. Roskam told The Hill that he opposes any measures that would add private savings accounts or slice up the current program to create a private account. However, Roskam responded to a National Taxpayers Union questionnaire stating he would "work and vote for Social Security Choice that will allow younger workers to have the choice of investing much of their Social Security taxes in regulated individual retirement accounts."[46]

On January 12, 2007, Roskam voted with the majority of his party against the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act, which would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate lower covered Part D drug prices on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries.[47]

Stem-cell research

Roskam supports adult and umbilical cord stem cell research.[48] Roskam has argued against embryonic stem cell research in the Illinois Senate, even if privately funded,[49] and voted against the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act in Congress.[50]


Roskam advocates making permanent the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts [51], and has sponsored or cosponsored fourteen pieces of legislation for lower taxes, including child tax credits and reducing the income tax, and has stated support for a research and development tax credit. As an Illinois General Assembly legislator, Roskam authored and supported several pieces of tax reduction legislation.[52] Americans for Tax Reform named Roskam "Hero of the Taxpayer" in 2005 for his opposition to HB-755[53] which would have raised income and sales taxes by 67% or nearly $7 billion.[54]

Other positions

Roskam helped to pass the Safe American Roads Act of 2007, which prohibits the U.S. Department of Transportation from granting Mexican trucks access beyond the U.S./Mexico commercial zone until the department complies with the safety and security regulations Congress has already enacted.[55]

Roskam also supports the death penalty, opposes same-sex marriage and civil unions,[56] and supports allowing the use of earmarks in federal budgeting[57]. In a political debate Roskam referred to global warming research and consensus reports as "junk science." [30]

Roskam has consistently voted for lawsuit reform, and has been endorsed by pro-tort reform organizations [58] During a 1995 push for tort reform in the Illinois General Assembly, Roskam voted for the reform measure despite promises to the contrary. Terrence Lavin, a member of the Illinois Bar Association who became its president in 2003, said that Al Salvi and Roskam promised, "We will never, ever vote for tort reform," when they solicited a $25,000 donation to a political action committee. Roskam later reimbursed much of the money collected after he voted to support the reforms.[5]

Roskam supports CAFTA.[59] In 2005, Roskam received a 67% rating from the Illinois Environmental Council. In 2004 he scored 100%, while in 2003 he scored 40%.[60] In November 2006, Roskam expressed opposition to raising the national minimum wage from $5.15 per hour, referring to possible effect on small businesses,[61] and voted against a bill to increase the national minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour over two years in Congress.[62]

Roskam is a staunch advocate of a federal prohibition of online poker. In 2008, he opposed H.R. 5767, the Payment Systems Protection Act (a bill that sought to place a moratorium on enforcement of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act while the U.S. Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve defined "unlawful Internet gambling").

1998 congressional campaign

Roskam ran for Congress in 1998 in Illinois' 13th congressional district to replace retiring Congressman Harris W. Fawell, but lost in the Republican primary to Judy Biggert. Roskam received 40% of the vote to Biggert's 45%.[63]

In 1999, at Biggert's request, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) investigated a mailing sent out by a political action committee (PAC), the Campaign for Working Families (CWF), in support of Peter Roskam. The FEC did not find the Roskam campaign at fault, but CWF was found to have violated election law. The PAC was led by conservative Gary Bauer.[64]

2006 congressional campaign

The 6th congressional district

In March 2006, Roskam, running unopposed, won the Republican nomination to attempt to fill Henry Hyde's open seat.[2] His opponent in the November general election was an Iraq War veteran, Democrat Tammy Duckworth. Hyde endorsed Roskam.

The competitive race was called "the nation's most-watched congressional contest" by Eric Krol of the Daily Herald.[65] The candidates debated on WTTW/Channel 11 (October 23), WBEZ radio (October 19), WBBM radio (September 24), and at the College of DuPage (12 October).[66]

Roskam was endorsed by the Teamsters labor union, [67] The International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, and The Veterans of Foreign Wars. On November 7, 2006, Roskam defeated Duckworth by a margin of 51% to 49%.[68]

2008 congressional campaign

In March, 2008, Roskam was again nominated to run for the IL-6 seat in the Republican Primary. He was opposed by Democrat Jill Morgenthaler.

In late October, The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Roskam launched a new website at The website displayed a fragment of a quotation from Democratic Presidential front-runner Barack Obama which seemed to indicate that Obama admires Roskam.[69] The portion of the Obama quotation omitted by Roskam goes: "Having said that, have I said that he's wrong? I love him, but he's wrong." The Daily Herald called the website a "... move to grab a hold of Obama's coattails ..."[70] The TV show Hardball with Chris Matthews featured a segment on Roskam's website.[71] The Morgenthaler campaign pointed out that Obama supports Morgenthaler, not Roskam.[72] However, Roskam won re-election, by a 16% margin (58% to 42%).[73]

Electoral history

  • 2008 Race for U.S. House of Representatives — 6th District
  • 2006 Race for U.S. House of Representatives — 6th District
  • 1998 Race for U.S. House of Representatives — 13th District Republican Primary
  • 1996 Race for Illinois House of Representatives — 40th district[74]
    • Peter Roskam (R), 70.8%
    • Kevin Schuele (D), 29.2%
  • 1994 Race for Illinois House of Representatives — 40th district
    • Peter Roskam (R), unopposed
  • 1992 Race for Illinois House of Representatives — 40th district[75]
    • Peter Roskam (R), 61%
    • Pat Cullerton (D), 39%


  1. ^ a b ROSKAM, Peter Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved July 24, 2007
  2. ^ a b c "About Peter". Roskam for Congress Committee.  
  3. ^ "The Story of EAL". Educational Assistance Ltd.. Retrieved 2007-05-12.  
  4. ^ Kadin, Deborah (January 16, 2000). "GOP leaders choose Roskam for Fawell's Senate seat". Daily Herald (Paddock Publications, Inc.).  
  5. ^ a b Eric Zorn, Chicago Tribune blog. Candidate's reform talk may be adding insult to injury. June 22, 2006.
  6. ^ Vogel, Curtis. "Husband, wife find 37 soldier IDs being sold on streets of Ho Chi Minh City". MSNBC. Retrieved 2007-03-16.  
  7. ^ "Roskam ready to go to bat for Sixth Congressional District". Roskam for Congress Committee. May 31, 2006. Retrieved 2007-03-17.  
  8. ^ Daily Herald "Voters will judge these episodes from Roskam’s past" Eric Krol Friday, September 22, 2006
  9. ^ Suburban Chicago News. Gay Rights. (Dead link)
  10. ^ (775 ILCS 5/) Illinois Human Rights Act
  11. ^ State of Illinois 93rd General Assembly. Roll call vote — SB 3186 (pdf). January 10, 2005.
  12. ^ Associated Press via The Advocate. Illinois becomes 16th state with gay rights law. January 4, 2006.
  13. ^ Daniel W. Hynes - Illinois State Comptroller
  14. ^ Chicago Tribune. Illinois Senate narrowly defeats stem-cell measure. November 19, 2004.
  15. ^ State of Illinois 93rd General Assembly. HB 3589 amendment 7 (pdf). November 18, 2004.
  16. ^ Washington Post U.S. Congress Votes Database
  17. ^ Freshmen Members Stake Out Roles in House NPR All Things Considered. January 4, 2007. Retrieved April 22, 2008
  18. ^ Illinois to open first hydrogen fuelling station Fuel Cell Today April 10, 2007. Retrieved August 18, 2007
  19. ^ $3m given for Illinois hydrogen production March 9, 2007 Fuel Cell Today
  20. ^ "CONGRESSMAN ROSKAM PUSHES TO CUT CO2 EMISSIONS, REDUCE GAS CONSUMPTION". Press release. June 12, 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-12.  
  21. ^ H. R. 2619
  22. ^ House OKs 35 mpg fuel efficiency rule By H. Josef Hebert, December 7, 2007 Chicago Sun-Times
  23. ^ Govtrack - H.R. 6346
  24. ^ House Roll Call: Price gouging on gasoline Associated Press June 24, 2008 8:55 PM ET
  25. ^ House fails to move gas pump price gouging bill. Associated Press. June 25, 2008.
  26. ^ Ads blame Roskam for continued high gas prices. Schaumburg News. July 10, 2008.
  27. ^ Tankersley, Jim. "GOP reps: Oil independence by 2023" Baltimore Sun. July 8, 2008.
  28. ^
  29. ^ "Peter Roskam's priorities" Chicago Tribune; Oct 26,05; pg. 24
  30. ^ a b Koehler, Michael (2006-10-20). "House candidates debate at college". College of DuPage Courier. pp. 1. Retrieved 2007-05-12.   (Dead link)
  31. ^ Easy to tell who’s who in 6th District By Eric Krol Thursday, September 14, 2006 Daily Herald (Dead link)
  32. ^ Congressman Peter Roskam - Serving the 6th District of Illinois
  33. ^ Washington Post U.S. Congress Votes Database
  34. ^ National Public Radio. Robert Siegal on NPR and Michelle Norris from NPR's All Things Considered.
  35. ^ "Little common ground for Roskam, Duckworth", John Biemer, September 23, 2006, Chicago Tribune
  36. ^ "Iraq not central in war on terror, Duckworth says" BY PAT CORCORAN ELK GROVE TIMES
  37. ^ "Final debate focuses on the war" by Eric Krol Tuesday, October 24, 2006 Daily Herald
  38. ^ [ Iraq War protesters visit Roskam] By Laura Knapp, Correspondent GateHouse Media Thu Mar 22, 2007, 03:40 PM CDT
  39. ^ Roskam for Congress. Door-To-Door Man. July 27, 2006
  40. ^ Roskam wants legislation to block CN rail purchase. Chad Brooks. Daily Herald via July 1, 2008.
  41. ^ 110th Congress H.R. 6476.
  42. ^ Roskam moves to designate EJ&E rail line for suburb to suburb mass transit. Press Release. June 30, 2008.
  43. ^ "Illinois deserves better than this" By Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) 12/16/09 10:51 AM ET The Hill
  44. ^ Illinois General Assembly. 94th General Assembly. Senate Joint Resolution No. 13. Roll call — Third Reading. May 20, 2005.
  45. ^ [[WBBM (AM)|]] post-debate press conference, September 22, 2006.
  46. ^ Kaplan, Jonathan E. (2006-09-21). "’82 issues return in ’06". The Hill. Retrieved 2007-03-21.  
  47. ^ Office of the Clerk, House of Representatives. H.R. 4 — Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act, Roll call 23. January 12, 2007.
  48. ^ Daily Herald. [1] (Dead Link).
  49. ^ Biemer, John (August 2, 2006). "Duckworth joins stem cell debate". The Chicago Tribune.  
  50. ^ Office of the Clerk, House of Representatives. H.R. 3 Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act — Roll Call 20
  51. ^ ROSKAM: DEMOCRAT BUDGET WILL CRIPPLE ECONOMY, HURT IL 6th DISTRICT Congressman Peter J. Roskam. June 14, 2007. Retrieved August 18, 2007
  52. ^ "Taxes & The Economy". Roskam for Congress Committee. Retrieved 2007-03-17.  
  53. ^ National Taxpayer Advocacy Group Names Roskam Hero of the Taxpayer Americans for Tax Reform 24 May 2005
  54. ^ "A Critical Analysis of Education Funding Reform". Illinois Policy Institute. July 2004. Retrieved 2007-05-12.  
  55. ^ Keep on Trucking … Safely The Hill blog May 18, 2007. Retrieved June 19, 2007
  56. ^ "Associated Press election coverage". The Associated Press. September 7, 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-09.  
  57. ^ Eric Krol (August 22, 2006). "Roskam defends federal pork support". Daily Herald.  
  58. ^ Lawsuit Reform Roskam Record. Retrieved May 7, 2008.
  59. ^ Krol, Eric (2006-05-13). "Roskam supports Bush on database". Daily Herald. pp. 17.  
  60. ^ 2005 IEC Scorecard
  61. ^ Roskam balks at hiking minimum wage By Marni Pyke Daily Herald Saturday, November 11, 2006
  62. ^ "Minimum pay bill advances" By Richard Simon Published January 11, 2007
  63. ^ Federal Elections 98: U.S. House Results - Illinois
  64. ^
  65. ^ Krol, Eric (2006-10-12). "Debate on immigrants stokes race" (in English) (reprint). Daily Herald (Paddock Publications, Inc.). Retrieved 2006-10-18.  
  66. ^
  67. ^ Joint Council 25 Endorses Peter Roskam for Congress
  68. ^ CNN. House Election Results.
  69. ^ "Even GOP rep. likes Obama" BY ABDON M. PALLASCH Chicago Sun-Times October 30, 2008
  70. ^ "GOP irony: Roskam reaching out for Obama voters" By Joseph Ryan Daily Herald 10/30/2008 12:01 AM
  71. ^ Hardball Highlights "Obama Voters For Roskam" Website (UPDATED) by Josh Kalven on October 30, 2008
  72. ^ "Illinois: Nervous Roskam Eyes Possible Ticket-Splitter" by Matthew Murray Roll Call October 30, 2008
  73. ^ Morgenthaler concedes to Roskam. Chicago Daily Herald, November 5, 2008.
  74. ^ Democratic Party of DuPage County, 1996 Election results for DuPage County.
  75. ^ Chicago Sun-Times. Illinois House Races. Page 30. November 5, 1992.

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Henry Hyde
United States Representative for the 6th congressional district of Illinois
Illinois Senate
Preceded by
Beverly Fawell
Illinois Senator (48th district)
2000 — 2006
Succeeded by
Randall M. Hultgren
Illinois House of Representatives
Preceded by
Daniel Cronin
Illinois Representative (40th district)
1993 — 1999
Succeeded by
Randy Hultgren

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