DeKALB – U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Channahon, isn’t taking the month off to relax while he’s not needed in Washington, D.C.
Instead, the sophomore congressman has been making the rounds of his district. He stopped Wednesday for a roundtable discussion in DeKalb where he voiced support for immigration reform, for repealing the sweeping health care reforms of the Affordable Car Act, and for bringing educated workers to northern Illinois.
“I’m all over DeKalb today, and then tonight in Rochelle,” Kinzinger said after the meeting at the Castle Bank administration building on Lincoln Highway. “This is our month in the district, and so I’m trying to find out what’s on peoples’ minds, what’s driving them, what are they concerned with. Because to be a representative you can’t do that if you don’t come and listen to folks.”
At the meeting, Kinzinger, a former Air Force pilot, expressed his belief in the need for changes in how America patrols its border with Mexico.
“Immigration reform has got to begin with securing the border – and real border security, not one that’s determined by the administration,” Kinzinger said. “The administration has already said the border is secure. I spent a week ... in April on the border in Texas actually doing border patrol from the air, and it’s not secure.”
Kinzinger said he met with Northern Illinois University President Doug Baker before the meeting. The two spoke about keeping more NIU alumni in the area.
“[Baker] has a real focus on how to drive not only a student pipeline into NIU, but how to take NIU and ensure that it’s helping to fill some of the regional needs,” Kinzinger said. “Not just to produce smart kids, but smart kids who can come out and actually work in the community, because we know this area is an exporter of kids, which is a bad thing.”
During the discussion, the congressman reiterated his belief that part of what is driving the unemployment problem is that many workers don’t have the necessary skills to fill open positions.
“If you go to the Rockford area, and even around here, and you talk to a lot of the manufacturing companies, they’ll say, ‘We have a lot of jobs open. We just don’t have people that can fit the bill,’ ” he said.
DeKalb Mayor John Rey expressed to Kinzinger his hopes that cuts to the federal government’s Community Development Block Grants program could be avoided. Rey said the program could support efforts to build a Communiversity Commons between the NIU campus and the west side of the downtown DeKalb area.
“Working some development funds into public facilities could be advantageous to the community,” Rey said. “It could be a major turnaround in one of the prime neighborhoods in the community.”
Kinzinger railed against the effects of President Barack Obama’s health care reform efforts.
“I think this is going to be a terrible law that’s going to be very bad for business,” he said. “It already is.”