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Pantagraph staff

JOLIET — U.S. Rep. Jerry Weller announced Saturday he is running for a seventh term, citing a list of initiatives that included funding for Illinois State University and Twin City transportation projects.

The Republican from Morris, who serves as deputy majority whip and on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, said his growing seniority in Congress remains an asset to the district.

"Legislative experience has taught me that local and national relationships matter and that it takes experience and seniority to get things done as a legislator," Weller said in a prepared statement.

Joining Weller on the podium at the Joliet Carpenters Union Hall were more than a dozen leaders in the fields of social services, labor, agriculture, veterans and environmental issues, education, business and law enforcement.

"Illinois State University has been able to expand its nursing school program and initiate a new program to research small scale wind energy projects in our effort to reduce dependence on imported oil," Weller said in the statement.

He also cited funding for Central Illinois Regional Airport expansion and the planned multimodal transportation center that is a centerpiece of Normal's downtown redevelopment program.

Weller promised to promote renewable fuels like ethanol and biodiesel. He said he supports a "tax code that is simpler, fairer and gives American workers a competitive edge in the global economy."

He said he supports the military in the global war against terror and "Islamo-fascism."

Weller, who drew criticism last year for marrying Zury Rios Sosa, a Guatemalan senator and daughter of a former dictator, pledged to continue his work as vice chairman of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee. He said he will continue to focus on narcotics trafficking and international law enforcement.

The 11th Congressional District runs across Bureau, Grundy, Kankakee, LaSalle and Will counties and extends south along a strip through Livingston, McLean and Woodford counties.

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