U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan encouraged locals to support Rep. Randy Hultgren on Friday afternoon so Republicans can keep pushing their conservative agenda after the midterm elections.
Ryan, R-Wisconsin, the nation’s third highest-ranking Republican, visited a Spring Grove manufacturer with Hultgren, R-Plano, only days before the midterm elections.
Hultgren is facing a tough re-election fight against Democrat Lauren Underwood of Naperville for control of Illinois’ District 14 seat.
Ryan drew a crowd of about 100 people to the closed event at Scot Forge, a company specializing in metal products.
“Here’s a person whose focusing on the problems facing our communities and he’s improving peoples’ lives,” Ryan said of Hultgren. “He’s doing exactly, exactly what we want our elected officials to do. Which is to keep their word, make a positive difference and get things going in the right direction.”
Ryan never mentioned President Donald Trump, who earlier this week called Ryan out on Twitter for opposing his controversial call to end birthright citizenship. Trump vowed to end the practice with an executive order.
Instead, Ryan highlighted the $1.5 trillion tax bill the Republican-controlled Congress passed last year and economic growth.
“We are seeing an economic renaissance we have not seen in a long time in this country,” Ryan said. “In October, the numbers we just got, 250,000 new jobs created. That brings more than 2 million new jobs created since this tax law passed.”
Hultgren spoke with the Northwest Herald after the event. He said he didn’t speak with Ryan about Trump’s criticism.
“I didn’t ask him about that,” Hultgren said. Hultgren said he believes “there’s problems with the immigration system” and that “we ought to talk about” birthright citizenship.
Underwood has made health care a cornerstone of her campaign and criticized Hultgren for voting to repeal Obamacare and its protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
“What we’ve got right now is not working,” Hultgren said, adding that he would vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) if a replacement that included protections for people facing pre-existing conditions is brought forward. According to the election-tracking website FiveThirtyEight, Hultgren has a 61 percent chance of winning. He holds one of the seats Democrats hope to turn Nov. 6 with a so-called blue wave to retake the House.