PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — There’s a new challenger for Peoria’s 46th State Senate District.
U.S. Navy Veteran Corey Allen is running as a Republican against Democratic Incumbent Dave Koehler.
Corey Allen spoke with WMBD’s Matt Sheehan about how he thinks his career in the military will translate into public office. He hopes to be the Peoria area’s State Senator come 2022.
Allen spent nearly five years in the U.S. Navy. He spent time in Security Forces. He’s also a Crisis Response Team member for PCAV (Peoria Community Against Violence).
He spent two years in Japan, two years in Iceland, and was based in on the U.S.S. Tarawa outside of San Diego where he was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
“The time I spent there really gave me an opportunity to gain the discipline and structure needed to manage crisis,” Allen said. “When things go wrong, when chaos ensues, you’re looking for that calm in the storm. In the military, people came to me when they were at their worst, in the military.”
Allen is currently the CEO of the Central Illinois Veteran Warriors, a hockey team full of veterans. The goal of the organization is to provide a healthy outlet for veterans. Whether it’s to battle PTSD, a love of the game of hockey, or just a place to build community.
“A few years ago a group of veterans got together at a random skate in Bloomington and it just blossomed,” Allen said. “I was very fortunate and blessed to be chosen to organize this group.”
The group started with six members and now has 35.
“Having that outlet both on the ice and off the ice has been such a huge component in my own personal growth mentally and physically,” Allen said.
Allen said as State Senator he wants to address community safety, education, infrastructure, small business, and protecting the Second Amendment.
“We’re trying to disarm legal citizens instead of going after the people that don’t need weapons in the first place,” Allen said. “Going after that issue and figuring that out will help us figure everything else. Small businesses don’t want to be in a place where there’s high crime, families don’t feel safe in an area with high crime.”
“In order to figure out how to remove guns from criminals hands, taking them away from legal citizens is not the answer,” Allen added.
“We need to focus on family health. The pandemic has shown that,” Allen said. “We need to get back to the basis that we need to take care of ourselves first.”
Allen said throughout history, education is the thing that fixes everything.
“Coming from a family of teachers, my mom was a professor of nursing, education has always been at the forefront. While I’ve taken a non-traditional route, I absolutely value education and we need to focus on that as a whole and at an individualistic level,” Allen said.
“If we don’t have good schools, good roads and sidewalks, we’re putting people at risk,” Allen added.
“Small business is always going to be the backbone of our country and they’ve taken too big a hit during this pandemic,” Allen said. “With the lack of resources and support from government officials, both federally and locally. With that structure and discipline I gained in the military, I can go in and help the small business understand what assets and resources are available.”
Allen said it’s time to “simplify, support, and secure their present and future” so we can provide jobs.
Allen said he wants to promote the law and order structure in the State of Illinois.
“In order to do that, we need to figure out the police situation,” Allen, who is third-generation law enforcement, said.
Allen said he wants to also enhance community-policing.
“I’m always going to back the blue. We need to figure out how to stem the violence. We’re taxing our police force which in turn, taxes our tax money. If we want to fix the economy, we need to fix small businesses and create resources for people. We need to stop the violence,” Allen said.
“We need integrity. Honor, courage, and commitment. Those are the core values of the United States Navy,” Allen said those values are embedded in him.
Allen said there’s “too much violence, not enough opportunity, too much tax.”
Allen cited a CBS News article ranking Peoria one of the deadliest cities in the U.S. as well as the 24/7 Wall Street article ranking Peoria the worst city for African-Americans.
“What are we doing if we’re not trying to fix that situation?” Allen asked. “Along with prosecuting the crime that happens, we need to have outlets for the young individuals who need some type of constructive outlet for that energy.”
Allen said a key component is listening to Illinoisans.
“People are tired of not being heard,” Allen said. “Politicians hear what they say, but they don’t listen. I want to show up for the people, be a voice for them.
Next week On the Record, Sheehan will host Peoria’s fourth district councilman, Andre Allen, live on WMBD This Morning on Tuesday, May 25.