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 holding elected office, Bost was a firefighter.

Early life and career

Bost was raised Baptist[3] and graduated from Murphysboro High School.[4] He attended a firefighter academy program offered by the University of Illinois, later becoming a firefighter. Bost did not complete a college degree. He served in the United States Marine Corps from 1979 to 1982.[5]

Bost ran his family’s 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 to 1988, the treasurer of Murphysboro Township from 1989 to 1992, and trustee of Murphysboro Township from 1993 to 1995, 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]

During the 2008 Republican Party presidential primaries, Bost worked on behalf of the presidential campaign of former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson serving as a congressional district chair for Illinois’s 12th congressional district.[7]

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 “These damn bills that come out of here all the damn time…at the last second and I’ve got to try figure out how to vote for my people!…[e]nough! I feel like somebody trying to be released from Egypt! Let my people go!” An opponent ran ads focusing on Bost’s anger, but many voters, according to NPR, “see his fury as well-placed.”[8][9][10] Bost’s rant earned him the runner-up spot on CNN‘s list of “Best Celebrity Flip-Outs of All-Time”.[11] Bost joked about his inclusion on the list, saying “I thought I was going to be No. 1.”[12] He later said he had been “angry at how legislators pushed a bill through and how Governor Pat Quinn was running Illinois.”[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 was historically Democratic-leaning, but had been trending Republican, with President Obama having carried it by only 2 percentage points in his 2012 bid. Enyart was considered vulnerable due to being a freshman member in a competitive seat. Additionally, Democratic Governor Pat Quinn, who was running for reelection in 2014, was unpopular in the district.[12] 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.[12][20]

In a radio interview, Bost said some scientists believe in anthropogenic climate change while other scientists do not.[21]

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.[22] Bost challenged Enyart to as many as a dozen debates.[23]

Bost was endorsed by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce.[24]

Bost won the election with 53% of the vote to Enyart’s 42%, with independent candidate Paula Bradshaw taking 6%.[25] 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.[26] 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.[13]


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.[27] Bost won the general election on November 8 with 54% of the vote.[28]

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.”[29]


Bost ran for and won re-election in 2018. In the Republican primary, he defeated challenger Preston Nelson with 83.5% of the vote. In the general election, Bost defeated Democratic nominee Brendan Kelly. Bost received 51.8% of the vote to Kelly’s 45.2%, with Green Party candidate Randy Auxier taking 3%.[30]


Bost was sworn into office on January 6, 2015.[31]

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.[13]

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.”[32]

Bost is a member of the moderate Republican Main Street Partnership[33] and the conservative Republican Study Committee.[34]

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.[35][36]


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.[37]

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.”[38]

On May 4, 2017, Bost voted in favor of the American Health Care Act of 2017.[39]

Tax reform

Bost voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.[40] 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.[41]

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.”[42]


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.[43]

Texas v. Pennsylvania

In December 2020, Bost was one of 126 Republican members of the House of Representatives who signed an amicus brief in support of Texas v. Pennsylvania, a lawsuit filed at the United States Supreme Court contesting the results of the 2020 presidential election, in which Joe Biden prevailed[44] over incumbent Donald Trump. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case on the basis that Texas lacked standing under Article III of the Constitution to challenge the results of the election held by another state.[45][46][47]

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement that called signing the amicus brief an act of “election subversion.” Additionally, Pelosi reprimanded Bost and the other House members who supported the lawsuit: “The 126 Republican Members that signed onto this lawsuit brought dishonor to the House. Instead of upholding their oath to support and defend the Constitution, they chose to subvert the Constitution and undermine public trust in our sacred democratic institutions.”[48][49] New Jersey Representative Bill Pascrell, citing section three of the 14th Amendment, called for Pelosi to not seat Bost and the other Republicans who signed the brief supporting the suit. Pascrell argued that “the text of the 14th Amendment expressly forbids Members of Congress from engaging in rebellion against the United States. Trying to overturn a democratic election and install a dictator seems like a pretty clear example of that.”[50]

On January 6th[51] and 7th,[52] 2021, Bost objected to and refused to accept the presidential election results of 2020, and attempted to overturn the results of the election in favor of Donald Trump by voting to strip the electoral votes from the state of Arizona and Pennsylvania.[citation needed]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Electoral history

Illinois 115th State House District General Election, 1992[58]
Democratic Gerald Hawkins 22,494 54.61
RepublicanMike Bost18,70045.39
Total votes41,194 100.0
Illinois 115th State House District General Election, 1994[59]
Republican Mike Bost 17,004 56.21
DemocraticGerald Hawkins (incumbent)13,24543.79
Total votes30,249 100.0
Illinois 115th State House District General Election, 1996[60]
Republican Mike Bost (incumbent) 19,561 51.82
DemocraticJohn S. Rendleman18,18848.18
Total votes37,749 100.0
Illinois 115th State House District General Election, 1998[61]
Republican Mike Bost (incumbent) 18,523 55.11
DemocraticDon Strom15,08744.89
Total votes33,610 100.0
Illinois 115th State House District General Election, 2000[62]
Republican Mike Bost (incumbent) 24,137 62.70
DemocraticRobert L. Koehn14,36237.30
Total votes38,499 100.0
Illinois 115th State House District General Election, 2002[63]
Republican Mike Bost (incumbent) 20,338 60.55
DemocraticGerald Deering11,10233.05
Illinois Green PartyRich Whitney2,1506.40
Total votes33,590 100.0
Illinois 115th State House District General Election, 2004[64]
Republican Mike Bost (incumbent) 27,984 59.99
DemocraticMic Middleton14,80431.74
GreenRich Whitney3,8598.27
Total votes46,647 100.0
Illinois 115th State House District General Election, 2006[65]
Republican Mike Bost (incumbent) 23,289 77.87
GreenCharlie Howe6,62022.13
Total votes29,909 100.0
Illinois 115th State House District General Election, 2008[66]
Republican Mike Bost (incumbent) 26,506 57.54
DemocraticCheryl Graff16,51535.85
GreenCharlie Howe3,0416.60
Total votes46,062 100.0
Illinois 115th State House District General Election, 2010[67]
Republican Mike Bost (incumbent) 22,820 74.43
GreenCharlie Howe7,83925.57
Total votes30,659 100.0
Illinois 115th State House District General Election, 2012[68]
Republican Mike Bost (incumbent) 37,192 100.0
Total votes37,192 100.0
Illinois 12th Congressional District General Election, 2014[69]
Republican Mike Bost 110,038 52.46
DemocraticWilliam L. “Bill” Enyart (incumbent)87,86041.89
GreenPaula Bradshaw11,8405.65
Total votes209,738 100.0
Illinois 12th Congressional District General Election, 2016[70]
Republican Mike Bost (incumbent) 169,976 54.31
DemocraticCharles “C.J.” Baricevic124,24639.69
GreenPaula Bradshaw18,7806.00
Total votes313,002 100.0
Illinois 12th Congressional District Republican Primary, 2018[71]
Republican Mike Bost (incumbent) 31,658 83.50
RepublicanPreston Nelson6,25816.50
Total votes37,916 100.0
Illinois 12th Congressional District General Election, 2018[72]
Republican Mike Bost (incumbent) 134,884 51.57
DemocraticBrendan Kelly118,72445.39
GreenRandy Auxier7,9353.03
Total votes261,543 100.0

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.[13]

On October 9, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Bost announced that he had tested positive for the virus the previous day.[73]


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  2. ^ a b “BOST, Mike”. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress; retrieved April 2, 2015.
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  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.
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  17. ^ (January 2, 2015) – “Murphysboro’s Bryant Sworn In As State Rep”, Murphysboro American; retrieved January 3, 2015.
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  25. ^ “Illinois Election Results”. New York Times. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
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  28. ^ Wall, Tobias (November 8, 2016). “Bost holds off Baricevic, Bradshaw in 12th Congressional District”. Belleville News-Democrat. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
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  31. ^ 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.
  32. ^ 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
  33. ^ “Members”. Republican Mains Street Partnership. Archived from the original on August 26, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2017.
  34. ^ “Membership”. Republican Study Committee. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
  35. ^ 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/
  36. ^ 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/
  37. ^ Raasch, Chuck (April 19, 2016). “House passes Bost bill updating definition of small farm businesses”. St. Louis Post Dispatch. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  38. ^ 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
  39. ^ Aisch, Gregor (May 4, 2017). “How Every Member Voted on the House Health Care Bill”. New York Times. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  40. ^ Almukhtar, Sarah (December 19, 2017). “How Each House Member Voted on the Tax Bill”. The New York Times. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  41. ^ Richard, Brandon. “Congressman Bost predicts tax law will become more popular”. WSIL3. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  42. ^ 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
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  51. ^ https://clerk.house.gov/evs/2021/roll010.xml
  52. ^ https://clerk.house.gov/evs/2021/roll011.xml
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  54. ^ “Member List”. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
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  56. ^ “MEMBERS”. RMSP. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  57. ^ “Featured Members”. Problem Solvers Caucus. Retrieved March 28, 2021.
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  64. ^ “Election Results 2004 GENERAL ELECTION”. Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  65. ^ “Election Results 2006 GENERAL ELECTION”. Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  66. ^ “Election Results 2008 GENERAL ELECTION”. Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
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  68. ^ “Election Results 2012 GENERAL ELECTION”. Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  69. ^ “Election Results 2014 GENERAL ELECTION”. Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved November 4, 2019.[permanent dead link]
  70. ^ “Election Results 2016 GENERAL ELECTION”. Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved November 4, 2019.[permanent dead link]
  71. ^ “Election Results 2018 GENERAL PRIMARY”. Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved November 4, 2019.[permanent dead link]
  72. ^ “Election Results 2018 GENERAL ELECTION”. Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved November 4, 2019.[permanent dead link]
  73. ^ “BOST STATEMENT ON POSITIVE COVID-19 TEST”. Congressman Mike Bost. October 9, 2020. Retrieved November 17, 2020.

External links

Illinois House of Representatives
Preceded by

Gerald Hawkins
Member of the Illinois House of Representatives
from the 115th district

Succeeded by

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois’s 12th congressional district

Preceded by

Ranking Member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by

United States representatives by seniority
Succeeded by