CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WMBD) — The race for Illinois 16th Congressional District comes to a head in less than one week, and here is what you need to know ahead of next Tuesday.
Back in October 2022, Incumbent Congressman Adam Kinzinger announced he would not run for re-election of Illinois’ 16th Congressional District.
Since this announcement, four republican candidates entered the race to replace Kinzinger. The four vying for the seat in Congress are a current congressman, a businessman, an engineer, and an attorney.
Michael Rebresh, an over-the-road truck driver who, back in 2020, led the Million Unmasked March in Springfield which was a protest against mask mandates in schools.
Rebresh is a graduate of Illinois State University and longtime resident of Minooka, IL. He said he’s hoping to bring his advocacy “for the people” to Washington, starting by eliminating career politicians.
“Term limits on Congress is a huge priority,” Rebresh said. “By extension, I think you eliminate pensions for all federally elected officials, again public service not a career.”
Rebresh said his other priorities include tackling the southern border, government spending, and addressing one of the country’s biggest concerns – gas prices.
“Certainly taxes on the state level is something that has to be solved,” Rebresh said. “On the federal level you have to open up the pipelines, you have to open up the permits for drilling. You have to incentivize the gas companies to want to make American energy independence a reality.”
He said he wants to help the Republican Party make America “the respectable country that it used to be instead of the country that everybody laughs at.”
Walt Peters is also aiming for the seat. He’s an engineer and also retired from the U.S. Army Reserves as a Lieutenant Colonel. Peters said heightened inflation and gas prices are high on his radar, and he believes he has solutions.
“Try to use fossil fuels, drill, refine oil, change the regulations so that we encourage the use of fossil fuels,” Peters said.
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Peters said if elected, he wants to use his platform to stop government overreach, FBI interference with parents’ rights to determine what is taught in their schools, and he wants to protect family values and the right to life.
“The Constitution guarantees the right to life, even for those who are too small to speak for themselves, so we need to speak for them,” Peters said.
He also gave some thoughts on tackling government spending.
“When we’re running the size of the budget deficit that we are, that’s what’s causing inflation because the Federal Reserve has had to fund that by creating an increase in the money supply,” Peters said. “So we need to stop the spending at some point, slow it down and so that indeed we’re not creating money to fund it.”
Congressman Darin LaHood (R-IL) is probably the most familiar face on the ballot. He has represented the state’s 18th District since 2017 and also served four years in the Illinois State Senate.
Due to the redrawing of the district lines, he is now running in the 16th District.
“I’m going to continue to talk about the issues that are important,” LaHood said. “What we can do to bring down inflation, what we can do to fight crime, what we can do to stop the illegal actions on the southern border, what we can do to reign in federal government spending.”
He said the country has to get back to energy independence to help with manufacturing, food production, and heating and cooling energy. He also pointed out ways he believes will help with government spending and inflation.
“We’ve got to quit spending money,” LaHood said. “$7 trillion that’s been pumped into the economy has caused inflation, has caused disincentives to work, that’s why we have a labor shortage right now, that’s why we have supply chain issues.”
“Number one, quit spending money, and I’ll continue being a strong advocate for conservative fiscal policy, not spending more money than we bring into the federal government,” LaHood continued. “Number two, we ought to start bringing supply chains back here.”
LaHood said chip manufacturing is another priority for national security, economics, and America’s protection.
WMBD also reached out to the fourth candidate, JoAnne Guillemette, but did not hear back. Guillemette’s campaign website states she is a licensed attorney and hopes to raise her voice for families, workers, seniors, veterans, and all who call Illinois home.