U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson served one year in Congress before losing the seat to U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger. (WJBC file photo)
By Stephanie Pawlowski
BLOOMINGTON - A former Central Illinois Congresswoman is penning a new book about leadership and the characters she's come across in her political career.
Former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson (D-Ill.) was first elected the Crete Township Clerk in 1993, was elected to the state senate in 1996, served as Illinois senate majority leader, before being elected to the 11th Congressional District in 2009.
She was elected to the state senate the same year as President Barack Obama.
"In the state senate, freshmen were not allowed to speak in caucus, but Barack always spoke in caucus. But, it was because he had something to say," Halvorson said. "He was a Constitutional lawyer and professor and people went to Barack and asked him about pieces of legislation and to find out if they were constitutional."
Halvorson was elected to Congress the same year President Obama took the Oval Office. She said there is a growing divide in Congress between Republicans and Democrats.
"Congress is pretty much becoming extremes of both sides and they're not even sitting down together anymore," Halvorson said.
Part of the problem, she said, is that members aren't spending time together anymore.
"Not only do the members of Congress no longer live in D.C., because they go home, but any time they do have is now spent raising money."
Halvorson said three days after she was elected in 2009, Adam Kinzinger became her opponent. Halvorson lost the seat to U.S. Rep. Kinzinger (R-Ill.) in 2010. She said there's hardly any time to be a member of Congress because of constant campaigning.
Halvorson's new book, "Playing Ball with the Big Boys," is scheduled for release Nov. 1.
Stephanie Pawlowski can be reached at Stephanie.Pawlowski@Cumulus.com