Illinois alum’s congressional campaign takes off

University+alum+Matt+Hausman+at+his+campaign+event+at+fieldhouse+219+in+Monticello%2C+IL+on+June+16.+Hausman%2C+a+former+mission+manager+of+SpaceX+and+former+coach+for+the+unity+high+school+basketball+team%2C+uses+his+wide+variety+of+experience+and+rural+upbringing+towards+his+goals+and+congressional+campaign.+

Rebecca Oriza

University alum Matt Hausman at his campaign event at fieldhouse 219 in Monticello, IL on June 16. Hausman, a former mission manager of SpaceX and former coach for the unity high school basketball team, uses his wide variety of experience and rural upbringing towards his goals and congressional campaign.

By Rebecca Oriza, Staff Writer

Matt Hausman, a University alum, introduces himself as an engineer, teacher and local community leader who was raised on his family’s farm in central Illinois. Recently added to his list of descriptors is “candidate for congress.”

With less than two weeks until the Illinois primaries, Hausman has ramped up his campaigning. Hausman is running in Illinois’ 13th congressional district, which encompasses the Champaign-Urbana area. He is one of four Republicans running in their party’s primary.

His background, while nontraditional, is something he and his supporters believe is his key strength.

“I would definitely surround myself with people who do have a lot more experience of the inner workings and the nuts and bolts of government,” Hausman said. “But we were based on a concept of citizen legislators and having that background and bringing those people in is key. If you just have a bunch of bureaucrats and lawyers, you’re not getting that outside perspective.”

Like the rest of his family, Hausman attended the University, graduating with a bachelor’s in aerospace in 2001. He attended grad school in Colorado before working for Boeing and SpaceX. He credits his rural upbringing in helping his time as mission manager at SpaceX.

“Coming from a farm background, I was able to connect really well with the Union labor, as opposed to more typical engineers,” Hausman said. “We had that connection, and it really helped with that relationship throughout the mission. In the 13th district, where we do have a lot of Union labor and industry, having that blue-collar background does help with that perspective.”

When he didn’t make the University basketball team his sophomore year, Hausman became a basketball coach at the University high school, where he discovered his passion for education. While at Boeing, he ended up receiving a second master’s in education, leading him to various teaching experiences at both high school and college levels. Hausman also volunteered for various educational efforts around the globe.

Hausman said his experiences have allowed him to explore very broad perspectives, and he tries to encourage broad perspectives in his students.

“When I was teaching, I always made sure to let our students know that people need to be able to understand the different sides, but you shouldn’t impose your views on another person,” Hausman said.

Having experienced the public education system as both a student and an educator, Hausman believes that much improvement is needed, specifically at the local level.

“My general education philosophy is that education should almost always be handled at the local level, rather than the state,” Hausman said. “So there there should be some kind of priorities and guidance from that federal level, but not not direct involvement.”

Hausman said he sees the 13th district as indicative of the state and country as a whole.

“The 13th district is a great district in the fact it is very much a microcosm of the state of Illinois and the U.S.,” Hausman said. “Because you have kind of more of an urban area and industrial area, down there you have a lot of rural and agriculture communities, you have the capital. Having different perspectives I think will help me to connect with and better represent people across the district.”

The recent redistricting has been a controversial topic across the state, with the previously Republican-leaning 13th district redrawn to favor the Democrats. Hausman said that while he typically believes federal involvement should be limited, he believes this is the exception.

“Democrats in Illinois are going to gerrymander as long as Republicans in Texas do the same thing,” Hausman said. “I think Congress has to step up and do it now. Gerrymandering leads to the hyper partisanship and the polarization that we’re seeing in the country right now. So I would love to see us get rid of partisan gerrymandering, so that we have more competitive districts and it incentivizes people to actually come together with the other side.”

Hausman’s platform for bipartisan support has been endorsed by the Chicago Tribune and the incumbent representative for Illinois’ 16th congressional district, Adam Kinzinger. Marguerite Bailey, an attendee at one of Hausman’s campaign events, has had years of experience working for various government offices and shares Hausman’s belief in the importance of bi-partisanship.

“I really support Matt because he has the drive and the vision to work cohesively, no matter the party that someone is attending,” Bailey said. “If you’re so narrow minded that you only work with people of the same party here, it probably will not benefit the community, the state, or the USA as a whole if you will.”

When campaigning in a primary election, candidates usually focus on getting as much support from their party as possible, rather than emphasizing bipartisanship. However, Hausman said he prefers to stay true to his values.

“It’s just a general principle of mine that we have to reach across the aisle to get things done,” Hausman said.

 

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