suntimes
GRACIOUS
Weather Updates

U.S. House, Dist. 11: Adam Kinzinger


Political affiliation: Republican

City: Manteno

Marital status: Single

Occupation/Firm name: U.S. Air Force/Air National Guard

Campaign HQ address: P.O. Box 487, New Lenox, IL 60451

Campaign website: ElectAdam.com

What is your campaign budget- 2 million+

What are your top priorities for the nation-

After a year of economic recovery failures, we need to get our economy back on track and rein in spending. The stimulus bill has proven to be ineffective despite a trillion dollar price tag. We were promised 8,600 jobs in the 11th District alone with unemployment not exceeding 8% but unfortunately, job loss accelerated with the unemployment rate reaching some of the highest levels in the state.

The lesson from the late 90s and mid 00s is that strong, sustained economic growth is crucial to achieve tax revenue growth. For example, we saw, over the last two expansions, a 28% increase in tax revenue from 1997 to 2000 and again in 2004 to 2007 with a 37% increase.

I would advocate for economic growth policies by making permanent the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, supporting reductions in marginal tax rates and the capital gains to encourage investment, production, entrepreneurialism and competition in a global marketplace.

Our federal deficit is too large and growing way to fast. Solid economic growth is necessary but not enough to solve our budget issues. The first two years of one party rule in Washington, DC should cause concern to taxpayers. By the end of 2010, the debt estimate is $13.787 trillion dollars--a 38% increase in only two years. If we stay on this collision course, the federal debt will equal GDP in two years. We must have legislators willing to vote to restrain the growth in federal spending--whether they be Republican or Democrat.

What are your top priorities for your congressional district-

An effective congressional representative should vote in a way that represents the values of the majority of the people of the district, advocate for its economic interests and be accessible to your constituents--all areas that will be a top priority for me as a newly elected representative of the 11th District.

Policies such as Cap-and-Trade, a government run health care system, raising taxes on small business and the middle class and incredible reckless spending that is putting the American people under a mountain of debt are completely out of step with the 11th District. I am a fiscal conservative and will govern as one just as my constituents would expect me to.

With an unemployment rate in the double digits and rising since the passage of the stimulus bill, job creation needs to take top priority in the 11th District and throughout the nation. I will represent the district's mainstream conservative values by promoting economic growth policies, scrutinize government spending and oppose government expansion in the private sector. In addition, a U.S. Representative should work closely with local officials to ensure that our area's infrastructure is being properly maintained and I just wish the stimulus money was directed more toward infrastructure improvements that would have served the district's needs well and been a boost to the faltering economy.

Since I entered this race, I was appalled by the lack of accessibility I felt the public had to the incumbent Congresswoman so I decided to host twenty open town hall meetings on health care, job creation and other issues of importance to the 11th District. Without those venues, the people of the district would not have had an opportunity to express their views, given the incumbent has refused to hold any open town hall forums on any issues. I believe that an elected official should make themselves available to the public to hear and address their concerns, no matter how tough the issue may be. I will be a representative who is responsive to the needs of the people.

The recession continues. What are its causes and how do we end it- Do you favor more federal "stimulus" spending to create more jobs-

The government has spent, lent or committed nearly $13 trillion to blunt the recession but after nearly two years of various bailouts and economic recovery packages, the government's intervention has failed to generate an economic rebound. I truly believe the recession has continued, in part, because of Washington's policies. The uncertainty of higher taxes, more government regulation and controversial pieces of legislation, like health care reform and cap and trade, have created too much uncertainty for anyone to invest in the economy with confidence.

The government's main responsibility is to create an environment that provides incentives for investment, entrepreneurialism, productivity and innovation--all factors that lead to economic and job growth. Earlier this year, I announced a five-step agenda for an economic recovery, which included:

ELIMINATING BUSINESS UNCERTAINTY: Given the federal government's growing role in the private sector, small businesses owners and entrepreneurs are unable to plan for their future. From higher health care costs to higher taxes and the threat of cap and trade legislation, business owners fear what will come next, and are uneasy about any new investment. Congress must abandon its failed approach to business and demonstrate its commitment to encouraging growth.

EXTENDING EXISTING TAX RELIEF: Without Congressional action, the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts will expire in 2011--inflicting what is essentially a massive tax increase on businesses. The combination of higher taxes and a reduction of capital available will only hamper growth and expansion. Instead, Congress must act immediately to make the tax cuts permanent.

ENCOURAGING BUSINESS INVESTMENT: To further encourage investment, Congress should consider business tax incentives similar to what was implemented following the post-September 11, 2001 recession. Specifically, businesses were permitted to immediately write-off the entire cost of new vehicles, computers, and other investments purchased within a year and within the United States, if possible.

ENDING UNNECESSARY SPENDING: Federal spending continues to grow by the trillions despite a debt burden that has reached levels previously thought impossible, undermining the dollar and our place in the global market. The result is more economic uncertainty that the nation can't afford. New spending must be limited to critical national security and infrastructure needs.

EMBARKING ON ENERGY INDEPENDENCE: Congress must more aggressively explore its vast energy resources, including wind, nuclear, coal, off-shore oil, natural gas, and oil shale. Those efforts will not only bring new jobs today, but save dollars and strengthen our national security for tomorrow.

This agenda will lead to real jobs and make all the difference to workers and employers in the 11th District and throughout the country.

Is global warming real- Is it man-made- What, if anything, should be done about it- And do you favor a national cap-and-trade program to put a price on carbon emissions-

We need a comprehensive energy and environmental policy that plans for the future but meets the needs of today. America leads the world in innovation and I have no doubt that we can develop a plan that protects our environment while defending our economic security. I did not support the cap-and-trade bill passed by the U.S. House in 2009 as it does nothing more than capping our limits on economic prosperity by trading our jobs away to countries like China and India.

I support an all inclusive energy approach, a comprehensive energy plan that creates American jobs, leads us toward energy independence by employing environmentally friendly domestic production of energy resources in the near term and develop long-term clean alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, biomass, hydropower and nuclear power. In fact, I outlined my nuclear energy priorities earlier this year.

Increase the Number of Nuclear Plants: Any strategy that makes the U.S. more energy independent must include construction of more nuclear power plants. There are 104 existing plants, which provide 20 percent of the nation's electricity with great potential to do more. With U.S. reactors limited to 60 years of operation, the government must encourage the building of more plants after years of inaction. There is no question: nuclear energy has proven to be a safe, efficient, clean energy source, as the people of the 11th District have known for over three decades.

Implement a National Nuclear Waste Storage Plan: Even without the development of more nuclear plants, the U.S. has a problem with its current 50,000 metric tons of nuclear waste, which grows by 2,000 metric tons each year. No long-term repository for storing nuclear waste is operational, despite the 1982 Nuclear Waste Policy Act naming the federal government responsible for collecting nuclear waste by 1998--a deadline it failed to meet. In 2002, Yucca Mountain was deemed suitable as the sole national repository, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is blocking the project from moving forward. Local plants are forced to set aside significant and expensive space to store the waste locally.

Advance Nuclear Reprocessing Efforts: The U.S. stores the leftover fuel while other countries, such as Russia, England, France and Japan, reprocess the fuel so it can be reused, thus reducing the amount of waste for storage. To assist with a growing storage burden at local plants, and end the inaction in moving waste to Yucca Mountain, it is time for the U.S. to commit to reprocessing nuclear waste.

These proposals will help create new, high paying energy jobs, reduce our energy independence and provide clean energy.

As a representative, would you favor changes in the health care reforms pushed through Congress by President Obama- What exactly would you change-

Our country does have a health care crisis of affordability and accessibility. I opposed the bill signed by President Obama as I found it did not address the issue of cost nor address the crisis in a fiscally responsible manner. We should take steps to increase the number of people with health insurance but the answer is not expanding the role of the federal government, cutting Medicare or raising taxes on Americans and businesses.

We need to make health care coverage more affordable by allowing Americans to buy insurance across state lines, increasing the purchasing power of individuals and small businesses to pool together to obtain cheaper health insurance premiums, enacting tort reform and offering full federal tax deductibility for qualified medical expenses such as premiums, out of pocket spending, deductibles and co-payments.

I did support the bill's measures that make it illegal to deny or prevent coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions or to institute annual or lifetime limits on individuals/families as well to allow those 26 and under the ability to remain on their parent's plans. We affect the price of premiums and the number of people who can afford insurance by reducing costs.

What should the American military and political strategy be in Afghanistan- How would you define "success" for the United States in the war, and at what point could we withdraw our troops-

Afghanistan is one of the vital fronts in the war on terrorism where we face many challenges. I supported President Obama's decision for understanding the importance of continuing America's mission in Afghanistan by sending additional troops, which has allowed our military commanders to take steps to quash the increased violence. We cannot allow the country to once again become a training ground for terrorists and see all of our work and sacrifice over the last nine years be for nothing.

I hope the Administration remains committed to the difficult mission ahead by refusing to place a firm timetable for troop withdrawal. The Taliban have a saying, "The Americans have the watches. We have the time." Providing a timetable for a pullout will only cause the Taliban to wait it out. Any future troop reductions should depend on current conditions on the ground and advice from our commanders.

Just as we have enacted a military surge, we need a political one as well. The Administration needs to be equally aggressive by applying pressure to Afghan leaders by requiring the government to show political progress. We need to make clear to Afghan leaders and its people that the U.S. will not stay indefinitely.

Afghanistan is a NATO operation--something we should always remember. If we do not step up the efforts against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, they will regain control of Afghanistan and make it a safe haven for terrorist activities once again. We cannot see all of our work and sacrifice over the last eight years be for nothing by not committing the resources necessary to win.

What should be the American military and political strategy in Iraq-

The surge has helped turn the corner in Iraq--both militarily and politically. We must recognize that an Iraqi democracy will not look like an American one, but that a stable ally of the United States is the major overarching goal. To achieve that, we need to keep the United States' military engaged in a training and combat support role in assisting the Iraqi government in the mission of securing their nation.

The surge accomplished several things: 1) it dramatically calmed down the violence and helped secured areas like the Al-Anbar Province 2) it let the Iraqi people know that the United States would not abandon them, which helped engage the citizens and leaders of Iraq in securing their own country and 3) it led to the Iraqi government taking over areas of the their country and with the implementation of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), the American military is now very limited in unilateral options, but continues to work with the Iraqi government and military to ensure that they are on the frontline of crushing extremist elements.

In May 2009, I returned from my third deployment to Iraq as a pilot with the U.S. Air Force. The results I have witnessed would not have been imaginable just a few years ago. I witnessed children playing soccer in the streets of Baghdad, when just a year before I wouldn't have imagined seeing that. I saw Iraqi's visiting shops and freely buying and selling goods on the streets. It was an amazing thing, and very humbling. I remembered Senate Majority leader Harry Reid saying "the war is lost" not that long ago, but was struck by the obvious reality that we won. America only loses wars that we choose to lose.

In August 2010, we saw the last of the combat troops to exit only 50,000 troops in a support, noncombat role. Victory in Iraq is the U.S. being able to leave with a relatively stable new democracy that is aligned with our interests--something I think has begun to happen.

What should be done to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons-

In 2007, National Intelligence Estimate determined that Iran had stopped its program to develop nuclear weapons. Many now agree that this assessment was incorrect. The Administration failed to get Turkey's backing for additional sanctions beyond the ones placed by the United Nations but despite that setback, the U.S. and our allies must pursue harder hitting economic sanctions against Iran.

The U.S. and our allies must be forceful in convincing the UN Security Council to pass harder hitting economic sanctions against Iran. The international community's support is crucial as we need to speak with one clear voice in sending Iran a message. However, we must remember that economic sanctions are only part of the answer. The U.S. must also keep up funding and support for opposition groups, including tools such as "Radio America." We also need to reassure opposition groups that in the event of regime change, the United States can be counted on to help them get back on their feet. Finally and unfortunately, military strikes should not be taken off the table in order to prevent a horrific scenario: a nuclear armed regime. We must always be vigilant when dealing with Iran.

Will the United States ever have a comprehensive policy on immigration- What should it be- And what is your view of Arizona Senate Bill 1070 and the recent federal appellate court ruling striking down its key provisions-

This has become a touchy issue that draws deep emotion on both sides. We must recognize that legal immigration is not the issue. We are a nation of immigrants but there is a legal way to come to America. Illegal immigration places an extreme burden on our public services and our communities--a burden that is not sustainable. Government too often wants to discuss steps two, three and four before solving the first step. In order to address this issue effectively, we need to address and solve step one: securing our borders.

The National Guard is an effective tool in getting us one-step closer to securing our border. In a post 9/11 world, an open border creates an opportunity for terrorists to cross into our nation undetected. As an Air National Guard pilot, I have flown troops and supplies to border operations in support of Operation Jump Start. I have also worked in Washington, DC scheduling airlift into that region. This has shown me firsthand the important support roles our National Guard can play in helping to secure our border.

The Federal government has failed in its responsibility to secure our border, which has led states to take up the matter themselves. It is time for Congress to address this issue head on. Congress recently passed the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Border Security Act--marking the first major piece of legislation on immigration passed by Congress in years. The bill is a step in the right direction by adding more enforcement agents and unmanned aerial drones along the border however, I hope this is only a first of many steps taken by Congress to ensure that our border is secure.

Only after the border is secure can we take the next steps in order to find a solution to this complex issue. Congress needs to work together to set a sensible policy on how to handle the millions that came here illegally. Only then will we be closer to having a comprehensive immigration policy.

Please comment on the president's education agenda, specifically on the Race to the Top competition that emphasizes core national standards and tests and the use of student test data to evaluate and reward teachers

I support more accountability. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, test scores have generally risen since No Child Left Behind's enactment. In Illinois, fifth graders saw a nine percent improvement in math proficiency and the achievement gap narrowed in both fifth grade reading and math. Clearly, the legislation has had a positive impact on our education system but there are some flaws including a series of unfunded mandates, punishing schools by including new students in their test results and testing a student in special education beyond the grade level of their Individualized Education Plan.

The Obama Administration has continued a federal presence in education by announcing the Race to the Top Program, which requires states to lift the number of charter school restrictions and link teacher's pay to student achievement in order to qualify for the $4.35 billion grant money. I am in favor of tying federal money to innovations and achievement however, I do have some concerns that this program looks at education reform as a sprint, not a marathon--meaning states are rushing to put a short-term plan together in order to compete for the grant money without thoroughly looking toward a long-term approach in improving performance. As the program unfolds, we will see if states put together a reform-minded agenda.

I open to the idea of performance pay for teachers however, in order to pursue this as a viable option, we need a clearly defined plan that does not create impossible situations for teachers to educate a child.

What is your position on gay marriage and the federal Defense of Marriage Act-

I believe marriage is between a man and a woman and support the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

What should be our nation's policy toward the manufacture, sale and use of marijuana-

I believe the manufacture, sale and use of marijuana should be illegal. I have participated in counter drug missions with my role in the Air National Guard and have seen the devastating effects of drugs in financing organized crime. I also have seen the result of these substances growing up with a father who ran a homeless shelter. I saw many stories of people dealing with difficult addictions and I would fear the legalization of the drug.

The United States continues to hold "enemy combatants," uncharged, at the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Is indefinite detention without charges acceptable- If so, for how long- And are military commissions an acceptable alternative to civilian courts-

The War on Terror will forever be with us, as the United States will always have enemies wanting to do us harm. According to the Geneva Convention, enemy combatants are not considered prisoners of war and therefore, are not afforded the same rights as a POW. I completely disagree with our senior Senator Dick Durbin that Al-Qaeda terrorists should be brought to the United States. I think that giving terrorists the same Constitutional protections as U.S. citizens in civilian court is wrong.

The September 11 attacks were acts of war, and we have prosecuted war crimes throughout our history in military courts, starting with General George Washington during the Revolutionary War. The 9/11 Commission described how past public criminal trials of terrorists have compromised U.S. information on Al-Qaeda, namely the Blind Sheikh and Ramzi Yousef trials.

Bringing Al-Qaeda terrorists to the United States increases the chances a federal judge may order them released into the country. Putting them in domestic U.S. prison facilities places them amongst a prisoner population FBI Director Mueller has identified as particularly vulnerable to extremist recruitment. Finally, when the Zacarias Moussaoui criminal trial was held in the United States, media reports described the surrounding city as a "virtual encampment." It seems to me that all of our past experience and current understandings counsels against bringing Al-Qaeda terrorists out of Guantanamo to the United States.

List your educational background

Illinois State University, Bachelors in Political Science, 2000

Please list civic, professional, fraternal or other organizations to which you belong

National Rifle Association, Illinois State Rifle Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) and Illinois Farm Bureau.

Have you held elective or appointive political office or been employed by any branch of government-

At the age of 20, I ran for the McLean County Board where I defeated a twelve-year Democrat incumbent. In 2002, I was overwhelmingly reelected after a competitive primary and then general election.

After five years on the board, I resigned my seat to join the Air National Guard as a pilot.

Please list jobs or contracts you, members of your immediate family or business partners have had with government

N/A

Name your five biggest campaign contributors and the amount they contributed

As a federal candidate, I am not allowed to accept more than $2,400 per person in the general election cycle.

Please paste a brief biography here

Adam Kinzinger, 32, is a focused, results oriented leader dedicated to getting our government back to the roots, which made it strong in the first place.

Adam was born in Kankakee but spent most of his childhood years in Bloomington, IL. His mother, an elementary schoolteacher, and his father, a former CEO of two faith-based organizations, taught Adam important values of hard work and responsiveness to the needs of less fortunate individuals in our communities. Adam earned his bachelor's degree from Illinois State University in 2000.

While a sophomore at ISU, Adam, at the age of 20, challenged a twelve-year Democrat incumbent for the McLean County Board. By focusing on a message of bringing local government back to the people, he won a seat on the board to become one of the youngest county board members in McLean County history.

During his service on the board, Adam focused on ideas he believed in--opposing elected officials' pay raises in tough economic times, standing out against internet taxation to local businesses, and supporting measures allowing for greater public participation in county government. Adam quickly earned the respect of his colleagues, was easily accessible to his constituents and was often the lead Republican spokesman on important issues facing the county board.

Adam sought a second term in 2002 and earned the endorsement of the Bloomington Pantagraph for his efforts in bringing a fresh perspective to county government. His message resonated with the voters and he was overwhelmingly reelected.

In 2003, Adam joined the United States Air Force. He was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in November 2003 and later awarded his pilot wings. Captain Kinzinger has served in the Air Force Special Ops, Air Combat Command, Air Mobility Command, and Air National Guard.

Captain Kinzinger has been recognized for his efforts both in an out of uniform. In 2007, he received the United States Air Force Airman's Medal for saving the life of a young woman who was violently attacked. Despite the likelihood that he too would be stabbed, Adam wrestled the knife away from the attacker and pinned him to the ground until the police arrived. He was also awarded the National Guard's Valley Forge Cross for Heroism and was selected as the Southeastern Wisconsin American Red Cross Hero of the Year.

Adam Kinzinger understands the value of American freedom and is committed to protecting and serving the citizens of his district and country both in uniform and elected office. He has the skills and drive to rise above the political noise, bring government back to the people and to create a lasting positive impact for the people of the 11th Congressional District. #Comments_Container, #Comments_Container1,#commentsonly,.StoryInteract{display:none;}

Comments