Adam Kinzinger was first sworn into the U.S. House of Representatives in January 2011. He serves as the representative for the 16th Congressional District of Illinois and was appointed to the Energy & Commerce Committee as well as the Foreign Affairs Committee.
Before he was sworn into office, Kinzinger was named to the House Majority Transition Team. This team was made up of 22 incoming and current House members who are proven reformers and offer a fresh perspective to restore government into the hands of the people. Kinzinger also serves as a Deputy Republican Whip.
At the age of 34, he is one of the youngest members of Congress and was named one of Time Magazine’s 40 under 40 “Rising Stars in American Politics.”
Kinzinger became active in his community early in his life. As a 20-year old sophomore at Illinois State University, he challenged a three-term incumbent for the McLean County Board. Kinzinger advocated for restoring local government back into the hands of the people and won a seat on the board, becoming one of the youngest county board members in McLean County history.
After serving on the McLean County Board for five years, Kinzinger joined the U.S. Air Force. He was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant in November 2003 and later awarded his pilot wings. He has served in the Air Force Special Operations, Air Combat Command, Air Mobility Command and Air National Guard. He has the current rank of major.
NIU Today recently had the opportunity to ask Congressman Kinzinger about issues of importance to the NIU community.
Q: What are the priorities for your district during this legislative session?
A: I am focused first and foremost on efforts that will improve the economy and grow opportunity for Illinoisans. I believe that by increasing American energy security through an all-of-the-above approach and making it easier for manufacturers to compete globally and create jobs at home, we will create an environment in which businesses and every-day citizens can thrive. Right now, students graduating college face a daunting jobs market. It is my hope that Washington can come together this session so that graduating students are met with more opportunities as they look to start their careers.
Q: How do you hope to accomplish or help accomplish these priorities?
A: I am focused on working with my colleagues, regardless of political parties, to achieve commonsense solutions that will reignite our economy. I recently joined a bipartisan group called the No Labels Congressional Problem Solvers that meets regularly in order to build trust across the aisle. This trust will be essential as we try to find common ground on proposals to expand opportunities and grow the economy.
Q: Research and development, especially university research programs, are a priority. How do you plan on helping to keep key research programs?
A: Illinois is home to two premier research facilities – Fermilab and Argonne National Laboratory. These facilities provide Illinois students with unique opportunities to gain hands-on experience doing highly advanced scientific research. I have consistently supported continued funding of this research, including a letter in support of high energy physics research and a letter in support of battery and energy storage research.
Q: The fiscal crisis is an ever-looming issue, and education is typically one of the first to get slashed. How will you ensure that federally funded student aid will not be cut?
A: Federally funded student aid has made the dream of a college education a reality for millions of students; however, rising costs and unfunded mandates threaten the sustainability of programs like the Pell Grant. In order to ensure this aid is available for students who need it, Congress must work to achieve sustainable program levels that can be maintained now and in the future.
Q: What do you love the most about the district you represent?
A: I love the opportunity to represent hardworking Americans who love this country as much as I do and who are committed to seeing it prosper. As I have gotten familiar with the 16th district, I am inspired by the many folks I have met who put the betterment of their communities and country above their own needs. I am honored to represent these voices, and will continue to do my very best to be an advocate for them in Washington.
by Isaac Palma