Phil Hare

Phil Hare

Philip G. "Phil" Hare (born February 21, 1949) is currently the Democratic Congressman representing (map). The district is based in Illinois' share of the Quad Cities area and includes Rock Island, Moline, Quincy, Decatur, Galesburg and part of Springfield. Due to the increasingly debilitating effects of Parkinson's Disease, Lane Evans withdrew from his re-election bid a week after having been renominated in the March 21, 2006 primary, and endorsed Hare, who then was selected by a vote of Democratic precinct committeemen on June 6, 2006. His Republican opponent was Andrea Zinga, who lost to Evans in 2004.


Hare was born in Galesburg but was raised in Rock Island. He graduated from Alleman High School in 1967. The son of a mechanist Hare went to work at Seaford Clothing Factory in Rock Island where he stayed for 13 years. While working there Phil served as a union leader and was President of the UNITE HERE Local 617. He also served 6 years as a reservist in the U.S. Army. These experiences helped him develop a passion for public service, labor politics, and concern for veteran affairs.

Hare and his wife Beckie currently live in Rock Island and have two grown children, Amy, 32 and Louis, 26.

Political career

Hare began his political career in 1980 when he ran as an Alternate Delegate to the Democratic Presidential Convention in support of Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts. He was one of 6 candidates running for alternate delegate but the three Kennedy delegates were defeated by the three candidates supporting President Jimmy Carter of Georgia. In 1982 Phil left his union position to help his longtime friend Lane Evans, who was making an attempt to unseat 16-year Republican Tom Railsback in the U.S. Congress. Hare first met Evans in 1976 when the two were volunteers in Senator Fred R. Harris' campaign for President. However, Railsback was upset by conservative State Senator Kenneth McMillan in the Republican primary. Evans defeated McMillan in November, and appointed Hare as district director.

For the next 24 years Hare worked as an aide to Evans, assisting the Congressman primarily on constituent issues and labor problems. In the last few years of Evans' time in Congress, Hare attended several speaking engagements and even debated Evans' opponents in 2002 and 2004 because of the Congressman's Parkinsons disease, which has often prevented Evans from participating in the engagements.

In March 2006, after Evans announced his retirement, Hare announced his candidacy to succeed Evans. In a special Democratic caucus of precinct committee members from across the 17th Congressional District Hare prevailed over the four other candidates and received the endorsement of his former boss. As a candidate for Congress, Hare focused much of his campaign on labor issues and is a strong supporter of unions and a critic of North American Free Trade Agreement, which he blames for a loss of jobs in his western Illinois district.

Hare easily defeated his Republican opponent, Andrea Zinga, in November. Following in the footsteps of his mentor Hare's voting record has been decidedly liberal; like Evans, he is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, of which Evans was a founding member.

Committee Assignments

  • Education and Labor Committee
    • Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education
    • Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions
    • Subcommittee on Workforce Protections
  • Veterans’ Affairs Committee
    • Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs
    • Subcommittee on Health

Election history

  • Nomination of precinct committeepersons U.S. House 2006
  • Election of November 7, 2006 for U.S. House Dist. 17
    • Phil Hare (D) — 114,638 — 57%
    • Andrea Zinga — (R) 85,734 — 43%


Hare appeared on the March 15, 2007 episode of The Colbert Report in the show's "Better Know a District" series.

External links

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