By Allison Petty
Former Madison County Judge Ann Callis said she supports airstrikes against the Islamic State militants and would consider supporting more aggressive action if she were elected to represent the 13th Congressional District.
Callis, an Edwardsville Democrat, spoke about the situation and other issues during a meeting with the Pantagraph and Decatur Herald & Review editorial boards Wednesday. She said the issue also was a personal one for her because her son is an Army Ranger who has served overseas and has spoken to her about the situation in Iraq.
"He didn't say much, but he said there was real savagery, real savagery going on there, and we saw it with the two Americans that were killed so brutally," she said. "It just seems like a rapidly, so rapidly growing problem with ISIS or ISIL, so we have to take measured responses and a step at a time."
But Callis said she believes the United States has the best armed forces in the world, and she would listen to military leaders and take their recommendations wholeheartedly.
The response to the Islamic State was one of two areas where she said she agreed with her opponent, freshman Republican Rep. Rodney Davis of Taylorville. The other was support for the Farm Bill.
As she travels the district, the No. 1 concern she hears is job growth, she said.
Callis said she would seek to strengthen vocational training programs at high schools and apprenticeship programs at community colleges. Callis said she would hope to build public-private partnerships between schools and local businesses.
"As chief judge, I was able to just build coalitions, bring people together, and get things done, so I think we have a lot of exciting opportunities to grow jobs right here," she said.
She also said she wanted to support programs that help keep juveniles on the right path and out of trouble.
Callis also said she would support increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10.
"In community centers, women are choosing between food and diapers. They can't keep their head above water, can't keep their head above the poverty line," she said, adding that six of 10 minimum wage earners in Illinois are women.