'Mr. Grabowski Wants To Go To Washington'

GOP candidate and everyman Rich Grabowski says God is leading the way in his campaign to become Illinois's 3rd District congressman.


Richard L. Grabowski wants to be your next congressman representing Illinois's 3rd Congressional District.

Known as Rich to his family, friends and supporters, Grabowski has been crisscrossing Illinois’s 3rd District that spans Chicago’s Southwest Side neighborhoods in the heart of Mike Madigan-country, west to Lemont, LaGrange and Western Springs, to the southern stretches of New Lenox, Homer Glen and Romeoville.

Handily winning a three-person Republican primary—one of the candidates was a neo-Nazi who didn’t believe the Holocaust happened—Grabowski is confident he will beat the Democrat heir-apparent Dan Lipinski.

Grabowski calls himself and Lipinski, both Polish Americans, “two skis in a downhill ski race” against powerful Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, who controls Chicago’s Southwest Side and southwest suburbs, if not the whole state.

Subscribe to the Oak Lawn Patch newsletter and breaking news alerts.

“There are a great many reasons why I should be optimistic this year,” Grabowski said. “There is much dissent within the Chicago machine. The anti-Madigan movement is really reaching down to police, firemen, city workers and teachers. The information I’m getting from the underground is that nobody wants to do what Madigan wants to do this year, like voting for Lipinski.”

A materials supervisor for a west suburban manufacturing company that makes pneumatic valves for industrial equipment and hospital beds, Grabowski lives in a duplex with his wife and four teenage sons in Hometown, a 1950s planned community that offered affordable housing for veterans returning home from the Korean War.

Grabowski is representative of everyday Americans, frustrated and bewildered by the government, angry about the economy and wondering when the hell all the middle class jobs are going to come back.

“People are looking for someone who isn’t connected,” he says. “Someone who is honest, someone who is just like them, and someone ‘who is one of us.’”

Grabowski describes himself as a Constitutional Conservative, who aligns himself with the Republican Party and is a favorite among Tea Party groups. Originally, he supported conservative Republican Rick Santorum, but is now backing Mitt Romney for president.

"I hold on to and respect the Constitution as our form of law,” Grabowski said, "I don’t trample on our Constitution. I wish our other leaders would do that.”

He opens or closes his campaign speeches with his favorite line – "I’m David running against Goliath. I need to borrow your slingshot on Election Day. Do you have the stones to help make it happen?”

“I got tired of the way the Democrats are running our state and our federal government,” Grabowski said. “They have chosen to run us into the ground. I’m running for the future of my children’s country to help fix the problems in the country that this generation has created.”

Follow Oak Lawn Patch on Facebook.

Dan Lipinski, who was elected to his father Bill’s seat after he retired in 2004, ignored Grabowski’s invitation for a forum where both candidates could debate the issues, the GOP challenger claims.

In his eight years of public service, Congressman Lipinski has been one of the most accessible members of Congress. Whether it has been at Town Hall Meetings, Senior Fairs, Veterans Fairs, or Job Fairs, Lipinski has continuously made himself available to his constituents.  

Lipinski's office issued a statement that no organization asked the congressman to take part in a debate.

"During every primary and general election campaign, Congressman Lipinski has appeared at numerous candidate forums and debates. He has also made appearances at various service organizations, churches, community events and other venues. In this election cycle, he has appeared at candidate forums ... If an invitation had been put forward, Congressman Lipinski would have made every effort to participate and talk about his strong record of accomplishments as an independent leader for the Third District."

The moderate Democrat is favored to easily win the 3rd District congressional race, but Grabowski isn’t about to give up now. No one expected him to win the Republican primary either against the other serious, well-funded contender, neo-Nazi aside.

He’s managed to raise about $12,000 from meet-the-candidate coffees and Monday Night Football fundraisers at local bars watching his beloved Chicago Bears.

“I’ve raised $12,000 versus [Lipinski’s] $7 million, which includes over $700,000 in union pac money and lobbyist money. “I’m scraping by but God is leading the way on this one. He changed Harod’s heart and he’ll change hearts of the voters in this election if that’s his will.”

(OpenSecrets.org reports Lipinski's campaign 2011-2012 war chest more in the $1.6 million range, with approximately $440,000 spent.)

Grabowski has received no help in his race from the Republican National Committee. Part of the reason why is that the RNC wants candidates to step up to the plate and so some heavy fundraising full time, he said.

Most of the campaign money he's raised has gone to his eye-catching blue and orange signs in the Chicago Bears’ colors. They’re the same style of sign he used in 2010 when he was running for the Illinois State House. Grabowski is a two-time loser, collateral damage in a contentious school board race.

“I ran as an independent [in the school board race] who didn’t run with any slate and kept my nose clean,” Grabowski explained.

In the days winding down to Tuesday’s election, Grabowski is racing around the district replacing or repairing the signs that got stolen or damaged by “Lipinski’s sign crew’s political yard sign jihad.”

Earlier last week, he found 50 of his yard signs laying flat on the ground with Lipinski signs speared into them.

“Dan apparently doesn't like my signs by his dad's Metra stations either,” Grabowski wrote on his Facebook page Saturday night. “Lots of my signs are gone entirely with his left in their place on many corners. Other Republican candidates signs in Will County have been trashed by the same crews. Don't tolerate it!!!”

There have been nights during his campaign when Grabowski has only managed 15 minutes of sleep before rising at 4:45 a.m. to make his 6:30 a.m. work start. Operating on a barely functional amount of sleep at work, he’s managed not to cut his hand off at the manufacturing plant. He's in it to win.

“It’s a part time race,” Grabowski said. “I work a day job. I’m a deacon at church and I have a family. Still I get my campaign done, which so far I’ve been pretty successful.”

For more information about Rich Grabowski's candidacy for Illinois's 3rd Congressional District, visit his campaign website.

This story has been updated.

Bob November 05, 2012 at 10:24 PM
He chose to live in Tennessee. The only reason he came back to the third district was because daddy retired. I didn't know we had a monarchy line of succession in Il.
prophet12155 November 06, 2012 at 04:02 AM
This guy is truly pathetic. He runs for ANY and EVERY open political spot on the southside, in his district. Wow he must really need to have his ego stroked with politics.
Bob November 06, 2012 at 05:26 AM
If you think that going through the aggravation of fund raising, the problems running brings to your family, and the abuse you take for going against incumbent sleazeballs is an "ego stroke", you obviously have NO idea what it takes to stand up to corrupt pols against incredible odds and really ignorant contituents. He has the guts to back up his beliefs by sacrifice and action. You just sit on your arse and snipe. That makes him one heckuva lot better citizen than you!
Christ's Soldier November 06, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Bob, Those examples are not about politics. I've read the old and new testament and don't believe that God takes sides in political races. Did I miss something or did David run against Goliath for congressman?
prophet12155 November 06, 2012 at 08:57 PM
I know EXACTLY the price a campaign costs....the cost to your family, the financial cost, the emotional cost.....ALL of it.....PERSONALLY! I also know this guy has run for any and every open political spot in the past few years. Pick a position...pick a battle ground. You can't just throw crap at a wall and see what sticks. And please all politicians have huge egos.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »