PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — We’re nearly a month out from the Primary Election.
With early voting underway, candidates continue to try and secure votes.
Republican State Rep. Candidate Travis Weaver joined WMBD’s Matt Sheehan this week On the Record.
Question: Your campaign slogan is “The better choice.” Why do you believe you’re the better choice for the 93rd district?
“As I looked at this district, as many folks know, every 10 years they do a census. Based on the census, they redraw the maps. This newly-drawn map is a strong, conservative map. It’s largely an ag-based map. When I look at myself, lifelong conservative, born and raised as a farm kid, former FFA President,” Weaver said. “I feel really good representing it. As I talk to folks out on the campaign trail, I find a lot of similarities. In a lot of ways, we’re cut from the same cloth. I just feel really good representing it because I have a similar background as the folks that are in it.”
Question: Recently, your opponent’s campaign ads have been attacking you. They call you a “Chicago liberal” among other things. I want to give you a chance to respond directly to the ads.
“He’s run a series of campaign ads that range from grossly misleading to patently false. I’m not going to engage in those. As a Conservative, there’s four things I believe in. Personal responsibility, fiscal responsibility, business-friendly taxes and regulations, and leading with a moral compass. Accountability, integrity, love, compassion,” Weaver said. “For me, you’re going to get the truth. I don’t believe he can say the same. Every time I see one of those ads come out, I go on my Facebook page, and I refute it. This election is too important for anybody to be tricked. I encourage the voters to go out, do your homework, and make a smart, wise choice.”
Weaver said he lived in Chicago for three years while he was working for Caterpillar. He was born and raised in Peoria and currently lives in Peoria.
Weaver’s ballot petitions were challenged, due to the objector saying he didn’t actually live in Peoria. The Illinois State Board of Elections Board who voted on the objection, sided with Travis 8-0.
Question: Right now, a major topic in politics has been the bombshell Roe V. Wade leak. When it comes to abortion rights, where do you stand?
“I’m proud to say I’ve been pro-life for my entire life. I’m the only person in this campaign that can say that. It’s important to me. When I was a kid, my mom had a miscarriage. For my entire life, that’s been our sister. My parents don’t have three kids, they have four kids,” Weaver said. “When I think about my sister and the life she could have had, she’s a person. She’s in Heaven. I get it, abortion is a tricky and heart-breaking subject. But I’m going to stand with life. Especially in a country where we have a waiting list for adoption. I think it’s important we stand with life and we give people a chance to live.”
Question: In Illinois, Democrats have a supermajority in the House and Senate, meaning if you want to pass legislation, you’re going to need Bipartisan support. How do you plan on navigating a Statehouse which leans the opposite way of your political party?
“I’m actually excited about it. I have a lot of people say to me, “How the heck are you going to get along with Democrats?” It’s a tricky question for me to answer because I’m going to get along with them. I’m going to treat them with respect, I’m going to bring forth ideas, I’m not going to stab them in the back. In my experience at Caterpillar and in small business, I’ve dealt with my fair share of tricky people,” Weaver said. “But when you treat people with dignity and respect and bring forth ideas, good things come together. I know it’s a hill to climb, but I’m excited for the challenge. I’ve had a lot of success in my life working with tricky relationships, but bringing forth ideas and being respectful.”
Question: Let’s talk about gas prices in Illinois. They’re nearly $5/gallon right now. Lawmakers passed a tax relief plan to try and alleviate some of the pain at the pump. Was this the right decision? What would you have done differently?
“The gas tax across the country is largely a federal issue, there are some things I think the President could do a much better job on with the supply side of supply and demand economics. But it’s also a state problem. Here in Illinois, we have the nation’s second-highest gas tax. In 2019, Governor Pritzker doubled our gas tax. You hear some folks say, “We gotta pump the brakes on the gas tax.” I say, “We got to find the reverse gear,” Weaver said. “JB Pritzker likes to pound on his chest because he gave this “relief,” within reality what he did, was postpone a hike until after the election. First of all, how corrupt is it to postpone something until right after the election? Secondly, the relief he’s talking about, gives the average driver about $7 in savings. That’s not $7 of fill-up, not $7 a week, $7 in total savings. I say, “JB, where’s the relief?”
Question: If elected after this November, what are you going to do once you’re in the Statehouse?
“The reason I’m getting into this race is because I took a look at our State’s biggest issues, and my ability to stack up to those issues. In Illinois, we have the nation’s largest unfunded pension liability. When I worked at Caterpillar, I spent a lot of time working on pensions. I can bring that experience to Springfield. In Illinois, we have the nation’s fourth debt ratio. When I was at Caterpillar, I issued debt, I helped manage our financial position, I can bring that experience to Springfield,” Weaver said. “In Illinois, we have a high-school graduation rate that trails all of our neighboring states. I tutored GED students and I substitute teach at Brimfield High School. I can bring that experience to Springfield. But it’s not just about Illinois’ problems. We need to be able to see the flowers through the weeds. Illinois’ got some great strengths. It’s an incredible ag State. We’re number 1 or 2 in corn & beans. We’re #4 in hogs. I grew up on a farm. I was an FFA President. I can lean on those strengths. We also have a vibrant small business community. I own a small business and am invested in several other small businesses. I can lean on those strengths and bring that experience to Springfield.”
The primary is June 28, 2022.
A shorter section of the interviewed aired Thursday on WMBD This Morning. A longer version aired on WMBD News at 4 Thursday.