John Laesch is a military veteran who served as an intelligence analyst in the Middle East, and was involved in Counter Terrorist operations and the daily enforcement of UN Sanctions on Saddam Hussein’s regime. John is also a graduate of Illinois State University where he received a Bachelor of Science in History and a minor in Political Science. John is currently employed as a union carpenter (local 195) working for Monarch Construction. He is embarking on two new roles in life; one as the husband of Jennifer Downard and the other, with your help and your vote, as the Represenative of the People of the 14th Congressional District in Illinois.
John feels that his background makes him well suited for an active role in Congress. He spent many years in both Africa and the Middle East, two areas that are becoming critical in United States Foreign Relations.
John’s parents were Lutheran missionaries in West Africa and John was born there in January 1974. His mother recalls that as a young child he was dedicated to the family mission. He often brought his injured or ill playmates to the family home, which served as the village infirmary, for bandages and antibiotics. John’s family departed West Africa in 1986 because of political turmoil in the region, and they settled on a farm in Newark, Illinois. John graduated high school and began climbing the ladder at Amoco before deciding to serve his country in the United States Navy.
John spent his years of military service analyzing intelligence in the Middle East. He participated in Operation Infinite Reach, the 1998 attack on one of Osama Bin Ladin’s training camps in Afghanistan. John also played a leadership role in Operation Desert Strike and Operation Desert Fox, two small-scale military assaults on Saddam Hussein. Although John was a leader of a small Crisis Action Cell that provided intelligence for military operations, his specialty was Iranian political and military affairs. In 1999, John was medically evacuated from Bahrain and after undergoing knee surgery at Bethesda Naval Hospital he received an honorable discharge from military service.
As a result of his military service, John became more interested in his country’s role in world affairs so he used his G.I. Bill to pay his college tuition at Illinois State University. While a full time student he worked as a hotel clerk, bartender and carpenter, and graduated debt-free with a Bachelor of Science in History. He minored in Political Science and Communications and earned a spot on the Dean’s list at his 2002 graduation.
John became active in political campaigns shortly after his graduation. John’s background in intelligence analysis allowed him a greater understanding of the issues surrounding the invasion of Iraq. He began to speak out about the Bush Administration’s hyped claims regarding “Weapons of Mass Destruction.” His informed insight allowed him to anticipate a much different outcome than the administration was predicting.
John began by writing letters to the editor and speaking out against the war. He soon recognized that the only way to correct our foreign policy and improve foreign relations was to change the leadership in Washington.
John began by managing the congressional campaign of Dr. David Gill and worked on several local campaigns. John’s younger brother, Sergeant Peter Laesch, thought that John would be a terrific congressman. When Pete received his orders to go to Iraq, John decided it was time for him to step up, take a stand, and run for office. In 2006 he took on the most powerful congressman in Washington, Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the House. In his first time out as a candidate John received an unprecedented 40% of the vote in the 2006 election. Though John lost the election he was not defeated. It is with a glad heart and a conviction that he can make a difference that John campaigns to be your representative in 2008.