Gaither hopes to unseat longtime incumbent in congressional race - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Gaither hopes to unseat longtime incumbent in congressional race

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WSIL -- A political newcomer hopes to beat a long-time Congressman in Illinois' 15th Congressional District.

Democrat Kevin Gaither, 42, is a self-employed tutor from Charleston.

He's also a man that has never held public office.

Gaither says U.S. Rep. John Shimkus (R-Collinsville) is largely absent from the district and doesn't do enough for the people of Illinois.

Gaither has some political experience, working as a precinct committeeman, running social media for the Coles County Democrats, and working for Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign.

Gaither has held several town halls with voters in the district and feels like he can better respond to their issues.

"Money doesn't win races," Gaither said. "Hard work and listening to people and shaking their hands and answering their questions, that's what does."

Gaither's primary focus is on the economy-- hoping to change the tax structure to help working-class families and end stagnate wage growth.

He also wants to invest heavily in education, health care and infrastructure, something he claims Shimkus is not worried about.

Gaither knows he's got a tough battle ahead of him.

Shimkus was first elected in 1997, when about a thousand votes separated him and the Democrat in that race.

Since then, he's only gotten less than 60 percent of the vote once, back in 2002.

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