Nov. 6, 2012 – 11:18 p.m.

113th Congress: Bill Enyart, D-Ill. (12th District)

Despite having never held elected office before, Bill Enyart says he is ready to hit the ground running in January.

“I’m not going to be your typical freshman congressman walking in the door, and the congressional leadership knows that,” he says.

Enyart already has had discussions with House Democratic leaders about his preferred committee assignments and his legislative agenda. And like his predecessor, retiring Democrat Jerry F. Costello, Enyart believes supporting transportation and infrastructure in his district should be his top priorities.

“Jerry and I have a similar philosophy,” Enyart says. “His role on the Transportation Committee was critical for the district.”

Further likening himself to Costello, Enyart wants to reach out to Republicans. He doesn’t see himself as a liberal or conservative. “I’m a pragmatist,” he says. “My job for the last 30 years has been solving problems — as an attorney and for the last five years as adjutant general of the Illinois National Guard.”

Though he does express an interest in foreign policy, Enyart primarily sees his military service as another asset he’d use to bring jobs to his district. Specifically, he wants to ensure government support for Scott Air Force Base in St. Claire County, where he first served as an airman in 1969.

“Scott Air Force Base is the largest employer in the district and my military experience puts me in a good position to support it,” he said.