It might not be evident in the race for the White House, but Illinois has at least one nonincumbent in this fall’s election who is the real deal. Martin
DON MARSH EDITOR
It might not be evident in the race for the White House, but Illinois has at least one nonincumbent in this fall’s election who is the real deal. Martin Ozinga III, head of key Chicago-market ready mixed producer Ozinga Brothers Inc., is the Republican contender to succeed retiring, seven-term GOP Rep. Jerry Weller in Illinois’ 11th Congressional district.
Concrete Products’ dealings with Ozinga Bros. on operations and market development matters, coupled with background provided by the Ozinga for Congress Campaign, leave us little doubt of what the candidate brings to Capitol Hill in the current economy and political climate. Marty Ozinga could offer colleagues, especially those more seasoned in politics than private enterprise, first-hand knowledge of making a payroll; the challenges businesses and consumers face from sustained, high fuel prices and escalating health-care costs; and, smart strategies to improve the environment and meet future energy needs. As a ready mixed producer, he can authoritatively address other timely topics, like housing and infrastructure. Construction materials interests will need many advocates on Capitol Hill next year as members of Congress roll up their sleeves toward reauthorization of the highway bill, expiring September 30, 2009.
The candidate has served as Ozinga Bros. president since 1985, and general manager for 12 years prior. Since Marty Ozinga first worked a broom as a summer yard hand in the mid-1960s, the business has grown from a modest operator on Chicago’s periphery to a 30-plant, northern Illinois and Indiana powerhouse.
While building what would become the industry’s largest independent operation, Ozinga also engaged in benevolent projects advancing recreation for inner-city youth and substance-abuse recovery for adults in Michigan and Illinois. Overseas, he has worked on the front line to promote disease prevention and modern medicine in Africa, Eastern Europe and India.
A Web site, www.martyozinga.com, has been set up for campaign background and contributions. Concrete-PAC, the political action committee of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, of which Ozinga Bros. is a long-time member, is coordinating an Ozinga for Congress Campaign fundraiser during the NRMCA Government Affairs Fly-In, September 21-23, in Washington, D.C.
With a firm grasp of business management, blue-collar work, and community service, Marty Ozinga figures to have strong appeal in a district spanning south Chicago suburbs and north central Illinois farming communities. But, he is up against a well-funded opponent, Illinois Senate Majority Leader Debbie Halvorson (D-Crete). He has the added challenge of representing the state’s Republican party, which continues to rebuild after the fall of former Gov. George Ryan.
By our records, the last ready mixed producer sent to Congress was Ohio’s Frank Cremeans in 1994. Since 14 years is long enough to see his example repeated, we borrow from another Illinois politician Û very much in the spotlight this campaign season and known to have recycled a few slogans Û to assure Marty Ozinga in his quest for Congress: Yes you can!