By Jo Ann Hustis
Community members discuss issues, legislation with Republican candidates
Morris health professional Robert Alaimo has his own view of the extremely lengthy Affordable Health Care Act that now is the law of the land.
"Reading the Bible is easier to understand than the first two chapters of the new bill," he said Wednesday, during a roundtable discussion in which Republican Congressional candidate Adam Kinzinger of Bloomington and local GOP state representative candidate Sue Rezin of the 75th District met with about 15 local business people on the economy, taxes, and spending.
Kinzinger noted the legislation can be repealed or amended. He also said, in answer to a question by John Sparrow, the legislation does nothing to control the costs of health care.
"The Republicans failed the last eight years in Congress to address the issue of health care," Kinzinger, a U.S. Air Force Reserve pilot and overseas veteran, added. "We absolutely have to have tort reform. We have to increase competition in the health insurance industry. Competition introduces lower prices."
Although the new law is federal, rather than state-inspired, Rezin added that people are concerned government will be involved in their medical procedures.
A local small business owner the past 14 years, Rezin decried the one-party political control in Springfield, and the $12 billion deficit budget she says it has to show for it.
"Springfield's answer is to raise your taxes," she said. "Illinois lost 175,000 jobs last year to other states. Government can't stay within its means. We shouldn't be spending more money than we take in. Lower our taxes and keep our jobs at home."
Kinzinger said small business is the answer to growing the nation's economy. He said small business is over-regulated by government, and that the suggested Value Added Tax is the "new thing" on the federal government's horizon, as is expansion of the Capital Gains Tax from 22 percent to 33 percent.
"Everyone knows we're spending too much money on government," he said. "It's most important to grow our economy and get more taxes, not raising taxes. Nobody knows what the new health care legislation will do to business. We need freedom to grow and expand."
Veterans Assistance Commission Superintendent Elton Monson said he was appalled at the people who want things from government, but did not attend the roundtable.
"This room should be filled with people," he said.
"It's a good turnout, I think," Kinzinger noted.
Monson said free trade is not free, and the nation needs "all the industry it can get."
"We need to bring it back to this country," he said. "America wants to work."
Kinzinger agreed, saying he supports the diplomatic corps that promotes American products.
"But, we need energy independence," he said. "We are importing goods from countries that won't take our products. We have to adapt, and very strongly support our industry."
Illinois' tough regulations on business and high taxes have put it at the bottom of the states in jobs and industrial and business growth, Rezin said.
"We have jobs fleeing Illinois because jobs are cheaper in other states," she said. "They're (other states) doing it right, and we need to look at our neighbors to see what they're doing."
Kinzinger said the U.S. is at the crossroads in determining where the nation is going to be, and that people have to stand up and take the nation back.
He also mentioned the job of a congressman is to go out and be proactive.
He believes the nation will see a new freshman class in Congress this year, made up of representatives who will respect the people. A lot of union members are coming over to the Republican Party, he said.
Also, that the new, younger GOP members say the people deserve less government.
In touching on the federal stimulus package, Kinzinger said Washington spent $800 million "on something that had no effect." Additionally, the nation has to simplify the tax code, he noted.
Rezin believes the TEA Parties springing up around the nation are very fiscally conservative, and are vetting their candidates much better than has been done in the past.
She said there are many things the General Assembly can do to make it easier for the people in the districts. She also noted the GOP needs to take 12 seats to capture the House majority.
"We need to get the right people in (Springfield) to go through the budget efficiently and cut out the waste," Rezin said.
Kinzinger added his take.
"Bureacracy's job is to exist and to determine why they need more people and money," he said. "That's what happens on both the federal and state level."
Local accountant Tawnya Mack noted the lack of money spent in the classroom on above-average students; only on those who are below average.
Rezin said the need is there to provide tools to teachers to work with above-average students as well. Kinzinger added that the nation has to adapt to how children are educated in the schools.
Regarding illegal immigration, he said the problem is there because the government does not enforce immigration laws. Also, that the Democrats in Washington will merely put up an amnesty bill before Congress.
"Come over the border illegally, and we'll grant you amnesty," he said. "We need to quit talking about it, and make tough decisions.
Kinzinger is facing incumbent 11th District Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson, D-Crete, in the Nov. 2 election. During the roundtable, he took a shot at Halvorson, saying she is afraid to face the public in open forums, and also afraid to make tough decisions.
Rezin is running against incumbent State Rep. Careen Gordon, D-Morris, in the November election. During the roundtable, she withheld any comment on her opponent.