McKenna becomes third Republican to announce U.S. Senate bid

Friday, June 27, 2003

By The Leader-Chicago Bureau (chicago@illinoisleader.com)

Andy McKenna, 46, President of Schwarz Paper in Morton Grove, announced his bid yesterday for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate in 2004.
 
McKenna, joined by his family at the Chicago-Springfield announcement, said, "I begin with our family because we come to this campaign as a family."
 
McKenna family -- his wife of 23 years, Mary, their son (who McKenna said told him he should run for U.S. Senate) and their three daughters. Mrs. McKenna and their oldest daughter are teachers, and one is in teacher training.
CHICAGO -- On Thursday, Schwarz Paper Company President Andy McKenna officially joined the growing number of successful businessmen who are attempting to seque their leadership skills into the political arena. McKenna, 46, announced in two press conferences -- one in Chicago and the other in Springfield -- that he is running for the 2004 Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate.

McKenna of northwestern suburban Glenview says that his campaign emphasis will be building families through strengthening Illinois economy. "I will be a jobs Senator," McKenna said in a prepared statement.

"The healthier the private sector of business in Illinois is, the stronger our economy and our families," McKenna said. McKenna made his announcement at Multi Electric Manufacturing, Inc., an expanding small business that manufactures airport lighting products.

?Between 1998 and 2002, Illinois lost 135,000 manufacturing jobs,? McKenna noted. ?For the children of Illinois to have the brightest future, we must become the leader in innovation - in agriculture, in health care, in manufacturing, in transportation.?

On a cell phone while in Rockford today, McKenna said that he opted out of the typical campaign "fly around" announcement tactic of spending "ten minutes in ten towns."

"We have a plan laid out of setting up jobs round tables throughout the state, and sitting down with area people, talking to those who have ideas for building the economy in their area," he said.

McKenna suggested the Rockford Airport as a positive effort that would bring in jobs to area's struggling economy, something he intends to focus upon during the next nine months leading to the March 2004 Republican primary.

?I am not a career politician,? McKenna told reporters. ?The U.S. Senate will benefit from a fresh perspective . . . people who know firsthand what it takes to create jobs, to meet a payroll, and to provide opportunity.?

McKenna told IllinoisLeader.com that he wanted to address a rumor that was circulating concerning donations the Illinois State Board of Elections' website reports as being made by an "Andrew McKenna, Jr."

An "Andrew McKenna, Jr" of 8338 Austin, Morton Grove is listed as giving $1000 to Democrats Attorney General Lisa Madigan on February 17, 2002 and then-candidate for Attorney General John Schimdt on February 8, one week earlier. The two were running against each other in the 2002 Democratic primary for the party's Attorney General nomination. The same name at the same address is also listed as giving $1000 to State Senator Jeff Schoenberg on June 26, 2001.

The Austin address is the location of the Schwarz Paper Company.

"That 'Andrew McKenna, Jr' was not me, it may have been my father, but it was not me," McKenna said. "I have never supported an Illinois Democrat, and I want that to be made clear."

McKenna did say, however, that he has supported two prolife Democrats from other states -- Bob Casey who ran for President, and a former classmate who ran for Congress at one time.

At yesterday's press conference, McKenna stated his position on several issues of concern to social conservatives.

"I favor a federal Education Tax Credit to help parents defray the costs of educating their children, whether in a public school, an independent school, or a home school program," he said. "Such a tax credit will put more power in the hands of parents. "

McKenna is against abortion, except in the case of rape and incest, and when the life of the mother is endangered. He has reportedly financially contributed to a Chicago pregnancy crisis center.

His reported position on gun rights is that he would close the gun show loophole, but that the emphasis should be on enforcing laws already in place.

But McKenna, who has the support of almost fifty influential Illinois businessmen and women on his campaign finance team, emphasizes that his focus will be on economic development -- the answer, he says, to many of today's social ills.

"Mine will be a campaign of hope - vigorous and focused on new ideas to revitalize our economy and to make Illinois the State of Opportunity," he said.

Saying that he plans to travel throughout the state, McKenna told reporters and supporters at press conferences, "I will listen, because true leadership is as much about hearing as it is about speaking. Mine will not be a campaign of one; it will be a campaign of many - a campaign of inclusion that speaks to Illinois? needs and the values we share."

McKenna joins physician-turned-businessman Chirinjeev Kathuria and former Goldman-Sachs partner Jack Ryan in the campaign for the Republican nomination to fill the vacancy that will be left by U.S. Senator Peter Fitzgerald after the 2004 election.

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