Mike Bost

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Mike Bost
Mike Bost official photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 12th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2015
Preceded by William Enyart
Member of the Illinois House of Representatives
from the 115th district
In office
January 1995 – January 2, 2015
Preceded by Gerald Hawkins[1]
Succeeded by Terri Bryant
Personal details
Born (1960-12-30) December 30, 1960 (age 57)
Murphysboro, Illinois, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Tracy Bost
Website House website
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1979–1982

Michael Joseph Bost (/ˈbɔːst/; born December 30, 1960)[2] is an American politician. A member of the Republican Party, he has served as the U.S. Representative for Illinois's 12th congressional district since 2015. From 1995 to 2015 Bost was a member of the Illinois House of Representatives, representing the 115th district. Prior to winning elective office, Bost was a firefighter.

Early life and career

Bost was raised Baptist[3] and graduated from Murphysboro High School.[4] He attended the University of Illinois Certified Firefighter II Academy, later becoming a firefighter. He served in the United States Marine Corps from 1979-82.[5]

Bost ran his family's Murphysboro-based trucking business for ten years. Since 1989, Bost and his wife Tracy have owned and operated White House Beauty Salon in Murphysboro.[6]

Bost was a member of the Jackson County Board from 1984–88, the treasurer of Murphysboro Township from 1989–92, and trustee of Murphysboro Township from 1993–95, until his election to the Illinois House of Representatives.[2]

Illinois State Legislature

Bost was first elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in November 1994, having lost his first campaign in 1992. In his 1994 campaign against incumbent Gerald Hawkins, he was endorsed by the Chicago Tribune.[1]

In May 2012, members of the Illinois House were given just 20 minutes to review and vote on a 200-page pension overhaul bill that had been revised at the last minute. Displeased with the situation, Bost exploded on the House floor, saying "[e]nough! I feel like somebody trying to be released from Egypt! Let my people go!...These damn bills that come out of here all the damn time come out here at the last second and I've got to try figure out how to vote for my people!" An opponent ran ads focusing on Bost's anger, but many voters, according to NPR, "see his fury as well-placed."[7][8][9] Bost's rant earned him the runner-up spot on CNN's list of "Best Celebrity Flip-Outs of All-Time".[10] Bost joked about his inclusion on the list, saying "I thought I was going to be No. 1."[11] He later said he had been "angry at how legislators pushed a bill through and how Governor Pat Quinn was running Illinois."[12]

Bost collects a $6,084 monthly pension from the State of Illinois and a $174,000 annual congressional salary.[13]

In November 2013, Bost presented fellow U.S. Marine Archibald Mosley with Illinois House Resolution 706 for his lifetime accomplishments, including being among the first African-Americans to serve in the U.S. Marines. The presentation was part of a NAACP program.[14][15]

After the 2014 elections, Bost resigned early from the House so he could take office in Congress.[16] He was succeeded by Terri Bryant.[17]


Bost served on the following state legislative committees:[18]

  • Appropriations-Higher Education
  • Bio-Technology
  • Higher Education
  • Public Utilities

U.S. House of Representatives



In 2014 Bost ran for U.S. Congress in Illinois's 12th congressional district. He was unopposed in the Republican primary, and faced incumbent Democratic Representative William Enyart in the general election.[19]

Illinois's largely agricultural 12th district historically leans Democratic, but it has many undecided voters, and Enyart was considered vulnerable in the race.[11] The Cook Political Report rated the race a "Toss Up" and the National Journal ranked the district the 21st most likely to flip Republican in 2014.[11]

In a radio interview, Bost said some scientists believe in anthropogenic climate change while other scientists do not.[20]

Bost said he ran because "the federal government has basically blown everything they are doing right now." He says he intended to fight for job growth and immigration reform.[21] Bost challenged Enyart to as many as a dozen debates.[22]

Bost was endorsed by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce.[23]

Bost won the election with 53% of the vote to Enyart's 42%, with independent candidate Paula Bradshaw taking 6%.[24] He won primarily by dominating the areas of the district outside the St. Louis suburbs, taking all but three of the district's 12 counties.[25] He also benefited from the coattails of Bruce Rauner's successful run for governor; Rauner carried every county in the district.

After being elected to the House, Bost said he did not plan to acquire a second residence, but would sleep in his office while in Washington.[12]


Bost ran for reelection in 2016. He was unopposed in the Republican primary, and faced Democrat C.J. Baricevic and Green Party candidate Paula Bradshaw in the general election.[26] Bost won the general election on November 8 with 54% of the vote.[27]

Bost was endorsed by the Illinois Education Association, Illinois's largest labor union. In its endorsement, the union cited Bost's "strong record in support of public education in the Metro East and Southern Illinois."[28]


Bost was sworn into office on January 6, 2015.[29]

In November 2014, Bost described President Obama, his former colleague in the Illinois legislature, as a "fluke" and said that "nobody ever thought he was going to rise." He recalled a time when Obama, speaking to a group of reporters as Bost walked by, had said to them: "There you have it, one of the rich Republicans." Bost purportedly responded, "that just proves you don't know me at all." He said that was his last exchange with Obama.[12]

After James Hodgkinson shot at GOP congressmen who were playing baseball in Virginia on June 14, 2017, injuring Steve Scalise, Bost said that his office has previously received phone calls from the attacker. "He's contacted us just about 10 times, on every issue," Bost said. "(He) was argumentative, but never threatening."[30]

Bost is a member of the moderate Republican Main Street Partnership[31] and the conservative Republican Study Committee.[32]

At a March 2017 meeting with editors of the Southern Illinoisan, Bost said that he did not do "town halls" because they had become too combative. "You know the cleansing that the Orientals used to do where you'd put one person out in front and 900 people yell at them? That's not what we need. We need to have meetings with people that are productive." His use of the word "Orientals" made national headlines. Bost apologized, saying he had "used a poor choice of words." His spokesman said that Bost had been referring to public humiliation sessions during China's Cultural Revolution.[33][34]


In April 2016, a Bost bill to change how the government defines farms and ranches as small businesses passed the U.S. House with bipartisan support.[35]

Health care

At a March 2017 "telephone town hall," Bost spoke about health care with several constituents who criticized Obamacare. Bost expressed support for the new American Health Care Act, saying, "doing nothing is not an option." He promised the new bill did not portend a return to pre-Obama health care. "It's not intended to go back to what it was prior to the Affordable Care Act," Bost said. "We have to move forward because the system is collapsing." He also praised "plans to strip money from Planned Parenthood and shift it to local health departments that help with women's needs."[36]

On May 4, 2017, Bost voted in favor of the American Health Care Act of 2017.[37]

Tax reform

Bost voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.[38] Bost believes the bill will enable businesses to compete globally and therefore will improve the economy. The individual tax cuts expire in 2022. Bost wants to make them permanent.[39]

In December 2017, Bost signed a letter requesting that two education-related portions of the Internal Revenue code, one providing tuition breaks and the other incentivizing employees "to accept tax-free educational assistance from employers," be left unchanged in the new tax bill. The letter pointed out that seven out of ten college students graduate with student loan debt, which "harms our economy because it prevents many young adults from buying a house, purchasing a car or saving for retirement."[40]


Bost has a "D" rating from marijuana legalization advocacy organization the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) for his voting history regarding cannabis-related causes.[41]

Uber incident

In July 2018, Matthew Handy, an African-American intern for Bost, was refused service by an Uber driver in Washington D.C. "because he and another intern had red “Make America Great Again” hats."[42][43]

Committee assignments

Personal life

Bost and his wife, Tracy, have three children and eleven grandchildren. He has said that his political hero is John Alexander Logan, an Illinois Democrat who had switched parties when the Civil War began. "He was willing to break ranks to do what was right," Bost explained.[12]


  1. ^ a b "Final Illinois House Endorsements". Chicago Tribune. October 21, 1994. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
  2. ^ a b "BOST, Mike". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress; retrieved April 2, 2015.
  3. ^ "Illinois-12: Mike Bost (R)". NationalJournal.com. Retrieved 2015-03-16.
  4. ^ Moser, Whet (May 31, 2012). "The Politics of Mike Bost's Pension Rant: Upstate, Downstate". Chicago Magazine. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
  5. ^ "Representative Mike Bost (R)". Illinois General Assembly. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
  6. ^ Vaughn, Lindsey Rae (July 10, 2014). "Candidate makes stops in Union County". Gazette-Democrat. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  7. ^ Mcceland, Jacob; Ranting And Throwing Papers: An Angry Candidate Runs For Congress; NPR; October 25, 2014; https://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2014/10/25/358712314/ranting-and-throwing-papers-an-angry-candidate-runs-for-congress
  8. ^ "Bost rant on House floor goes viral". The Southern. May 30, 2012.
  9. ^ "Watch: Ill. lawmaker loses cool over pension bill". CBS News. May 30, 2012.
  10. ^ Moos, Jeanne (January 20, 2014). "Richard Sherman's rant now among the best celebrity flip outs of all-time". CNN. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
  11. ^ a b c Wicklander, Carl (March 2, 2014). "Large Percentage of Undecided Voters in IL-12 Leaves Election a Toss-Up". Independent Voter Network. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
  12. ^ a b c d "Meet Mike Bost, a Must-Watch Freshman Congressman". NBC News. November 17, 2014.
  13. ^ Neubauer, Chuck (22 February 2017). "These legislators collect paychecks from Washington—and pensions from Illinois". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  14. ^ Mariano, Nick (November 25, 2013). "Salute to success: NAACP gather for banquet; reminder of work that remains". The Southern. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  15. ^ "Bill Status of HR0706 98th General Assembly". Illinois General Assembly. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  16. ^ Parker, Molly (December 5, 2014) – "Bost to Resign Early From State House, Heading to DC". The Southern Illinoisian; retrieved January 3, 2015.
  17. ^ (January 2, 2015) – "Murphysboro's Bryant Sworn In As State Rep", Murphysboro American; retrieved January 3, 2015.
  18. ^ "Representative Mike Bost (R)". Illinois General Assembly. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
  19. ^ McDermott, Kevin (March 26, 2014). "Paper-flinging Illinois candidate Mike Bost being highlighted by national Republicans". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
  20. ^ "Illinois' 12th District Contenders Highlight Differences". News.stlpublicradio.org. 2014-10-16. Retrieved 2015-03-16.
  21. ^ Hale, Caleb (July 27, 2013). "Murphysboro state legislator says it's time". The Southern. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
  22. ^ Wicklander, Carl (July 14, 2014). "Ill. GOP Hopeful Mike Bost Forms Small Business Coalition to Compete in CD-12". Independent Voter News. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
  23. ^ Grimm, Nathan (August 7, 2014). "Illinois Chamber endorses Bost for representative". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on October 20, 2014. Retrieved October 14, 2014.
  24. ^ "Illinois Election Results". New York Times. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  25. ^ "Illinois House results -- 2014 Election Center -- Elections and Politics from CNN.com". CNN. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  26. ^ Croessman, John (March 29, 2016). "Baricevic challenges Mike Bost". Benton Evening News. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
  27. ^ Wall, Tobias (November 8, 2016). "Bost holds off Baricevic, Bradshaw in 12th Congressional District". Belleville News-Democrat. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  28. ^ Davenport, Cory. "U.S. Congressman Mike Bost accepts teachers' union endorsement". River Bender. Retrieved October 20, 2016.
  29. ^ Raasch, Chuck (January 6, 2015). "Mike Bost sworn in as area's only new U.S. House member". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  30. ^ Esters, Stephanie; U.S. Rep. Mike Bost's office had contact with suspect in shooting that wounded congressman; The Southern Illinoisan; June 14, 2017; http://thesouthern.com/news/national/u-s-rep-mike-bost-s-office-had-contact-with/article_09ba8b17-449f-5599-82a5-6870a1e0ff93.html
  31. ^ "Members". Republican Mains Street Partnership. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  32. ^ "Membership". Republican Study Committee. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  33. ^ Phillips, Kristine; 'The cleansing' by 'the Orientals': Lawmaker uses offensive term to describe raucous town halls; Washington Post; March 4, 2017; https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/03/04/illinois-rep-mike-bost-said-raucous-town-halls-are-like-the-cleansing-by-the-orientals/
  34. ^ Illinois Rep. Mike Bost compares town halls to "cleansing" by "Orientals"; CBS News; March 3, 2017; https://www.cbsnews.com/news/illinois-rep-mike-bost-compares-town-halls-to-cleansing-by-orientals/
  35. ^ Raasch, Chuck (April 19, 2016). "House passes Bost bill updating definition of small farm businesses". St. Louis Post Dispatch. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  36. ^ Bustos, Joseph; Bost talks health care, Russia, NGA during telephone town hall; Belleville News Democrat; March 15, 2017; http://www.bnd.com/news/local/article138811038.html
  37. ^ Aisch, Gregor (May 4, 2017). "How Every Member Voted on the House Health Care Bill". New York Times. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  38. ^ Almukhtar, Sarah (19 December 2017). "How Each House Member Voted on the Tax Bill". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  39. ^ Richard, Brandon. "Congressman Bost predicts tax law will become more popular". WSIL3. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  40. ^ Smith, Isaac; Rep. Mike Bost signs letter opposing plan to tax graduate stipends; The Southern Illinoisan; December 14, 2017; http://thesouthern.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/rep-mike-bost-signs-letter-opposing-plan-to-tax-graduate/article_df947f9d-24a6-59b0-9f5e-815259f8a3e0.html
  41. ^ "Illinois Scorecard". NORML. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  42. ^ "Interns had 'MAGA' hats and wanted a ride to Trump hotel. Uber driver refused, they say". miamiherald. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  43. ^ Pappas, Alex (2018-07-12). "GOP interns: Uber driver refused us service because of MAGA hats". Fox News. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  44. ^ "Member List". Retrieved 6 November 2017.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
William Enyart
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 12th congressional district

Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Rod Blum
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Brendan F. Boyle
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