NORMAL — Benjamin Webb believes he can offer something unique not only to the 13th Congressional District but also to the country.
"As a lifelong learner, I believe the way we debate and legislate should operate like a classroom, a place where everyone's voices are heard," he wrote on his website. "I offer a perspective that would be unique in the whole of Congress: a public school teacher and voice to champion progressive values."
Webb, who lives in Normal and teaches English and theater at University High School, is the latest candidate to announce he is seeking the Democratic nomination to oppose U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, a Taylorville Republican, in 2018.
"On an exhaustive number of occasions, our communities have actively voiced our opposition to the priorities of this current administration. Through our actions, we show that all people of this country are equals and belong in this, their home," he wrote in a Facebook post announcing his candidacy. "We look towards having representation that respects the livelihood of all the people of a constituency, not just those at the top."
Webb's goals also include supporting public schools and universities, fighting climate change, improving public access to elected officials, ensuring free and independent news media, getting big money out of politics, supporting job training and promoting immigration reform, according to his website.
"Already voiced is our need to address universal health care and making it accessible to all, not as a privilege, but as a right," he wrote on Facebook. "We need to empower, fully fund and invigorate our school systems in order to best prepare our students and the next generation of leaders.
"(Other goals include) protecting the environment, investing and developing a renewable, sustainable future regarding energy and infrastructure."
Webb said he plans to campaign across the district. He will have events this week in Champaign-Urbana, including at Davis' office hours there Friday.
Davis also will have office hours in Normal this week, from 8:30-10 a.m. Thursday, but Webb is not scheduled to be there.
Bloomington physician David Gill and Montgomery County Board member Dillon C. Clark also have announced that they will pursue the Democratic nomination. State Rep. Carol Ammons, an Urbana Democrat, is exploring the possibility and plans to announce a decision this month.