Following the closing of polls Tuesday, re-elected Congressman Aaron Schock, R-Peoria, said the "real work" is just beginning.
For the last year and a half, the congressman has said he's made efforts to visit some more of the rural and new areas of his district in order to get to know residents since its reconfiguration following the last U.S. Census.
He said the economic downturn was particularly hard on rural America. Because of this, returning jobs back to rural Americans is a "particular priority" of his, with an emphasis on the state's infrastructure, "so that rural communities like Macomb can get goods and services out," referencing Macomb's Pella Corporation as an example of infrastructure improvements and access.
Additionally, Schock said he's spoken with local officials, such as municipal mayors and state Rep. Norine Hammond, R-Macomb, about infrastructure and economic development.
"It's all about promoting pro-growth policies," he said.
Schock said Tuesday evening that he was "obviously very excited" about the results of the election, adding that his return to Congress is a testament to his staff. In McDonough County specifically, Schock won out Democratic challenger Steve Waterworth 7,574 to 4,528.
Schock will now serve a third term in the U.S. House of Representatives. According to a Peoria Journal Star article dated Oct. 28, Waterworth ran against former U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood, but never drew more than one-third of the vote.
Waterworth cited the differences in campaign finances among the reasons why he was not victorious on Tuesday.
"I had a low-budget campaign," he said earlier on Tuesday. "And didn't have much money to run against someone who has 2.5 (million) to 3 million (dollars)."
Even still, Waterworth said he feels that he achieved one goal he set out to accomplish with his campaign — to show voters that a large budget isn't necessary to run a campaign.
"It seems like the more money there is the more lying is done by the candidates and the people that support them," he said. "As they get more and more money, they get more and more desperate to win."
The last U.S. Census presented a change in constituency for the congressman, who said he now has 750,000 constituents — a third of which were new voters for him on Tuesday.
"I think the values of this congressional district are very much the same, whether you're in Macomb or Quincy …" he said. "It makes it easier in my job to represent the area."
A multi-year federal highway bill and the renewal of work-opportunity tax credits are among what Schock lists as his past accomplishments in office, the Peoria Journal Star reported.
The congressman also said Tuesday that keeping the state competitive through policy is also a priority.
Page 2 of 2 - "If we have great rail systems, good infrastructure, that's where people want to see," he said.
McDonough County Voice Editor Jackie Smith and GateHouse News Service contributed to this report.