Rep. Foster as surprised as anyone by Hastert allegations

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Amid pending federal charges against former House speaker Dennis Hastert for lying to the FBI and allegations of Hastert’s sexual misconduct with a student, Rep. Bill Foster said he was as shocked as anyone at the emerging situation involving his former congressman, whom many of his constituents called ‘Denny.’

“This came as a surprise to me,” Foster said after a speech at the City Club of Chicago on Monday. He now holds the west suburban seat Hastert once occupied.

Hastert retired in 2007, creating a special election that Foster won, but “I never knew him well,” Foster said.

During his speech to an audience of about 40 people, Foster referred to his science background – he is the only physicist in the U.S. House of Representatives – and noted that climate change will occur whether people choose to believe it or not.

“This is not a popularity contest,” Foster said. “This is not a poll.”

On fiscal matters, Foster raised the issue of Illinois being what is called a “payer state” — sending a lot more federal tax revenue to Washington than it gets back in spending and services — about $19 billion a year, he said.

“This is not a theoretical problem,” he said. “There’s no reason why anyone from Illinois should not be in full favor of fixing the large number of egregious things that steal money out of Illinois.”

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