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Candidate Profile from Congressional Quarterly

David D. Phelps (D) of Eldorado
Open Seat
  • Born: October 26, 1947, Eldorado.
  • Education: Southern Illinois U., B.S., 1969.
  • Military Service: None.
  • Occupation: Retail business owner; teacher.
  • Family: Wife, Leslie; four children.
  • Religion: Baptist.
  • Political Career: Saline County clerk and recorder, 1980-85; Ill. House, 1985-present.

  • Campaign Address: 209 N. Vine, Harrisburg, IL 62946
  • Telephone:(618) 253-3283
  • Fax: (618) 253-4034
  • E-mail: Not reported.
  • Web: Not reported.

Phelps now carries the torch that Poshard lit 10 years ago. On the campaign trail, he often portrayed himself as having the same roots, values and ambitions as his predecessor. But unlike Poshard, who limited himself to five terms, Phelps has not set a self-imposed term limit.

Like his mentor, Phelps mixes conservative and progressive stances on issues. He opposes gun control and abortion rights, yet he favors an activist government role in education funding and national standards. In Springfield, he backed a plan to increase the state's income tax to provide more school funding while cutting property taxes. Like Poshard, he is staunchly pro-labor.

In the House, Phelps will focus on quality of life issues for his rural district, including health care accessibility, employment issues and agribusiness. Phelps would like to revisit crop insurance and subsidy provisions of the 1996 Freedom to Farm law. He will be pushing for fast-track trade authority and other measures that might open markets for farm exports. He will be eyeing the Agriculture and Transportation committees and plans to join the Rural Health Caucus.

A regionally renowned singer, Phelps will replace retiring W.G. "Bill" Hefner, D-N.C., as the gospel voice in the House. The Oak Ridge Boys have recorded some of the gospel songs he has written.

Phelps says that President Clinton's alleged behavior with Monica Lewinsky greatly disturbed his Christian sensibilities. However, he says he has kept an open mind about whether to vote for impeachment.

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