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IVCC awarded state funds to help construct new ag storage building
Other
Wednesday, September 19, 2018  |   Article  |  
Education--Higher (37) Rezin, Sue--State Senate 38

SPRINGFIELD — A barn dating back to the 1940s at Illinois Valley Community College in Oglesby will be demolished, with a new agriculture building going up in its place, thanks to capital project money released Sept. 11 by the Illinois Office of Management and Budget.

The funds from the state, $164,790, combined with $60,210 coming from local funding, will be used to construct an equipment storage building for the IVCC Agriculture Program along with laboratory space for field experiments.

The project also includes demolishing an existing old dairy barn that is not suitable for storage or laboratory work.

“IVCC plays such an important role in the region, providing tremendous educational value for students,” state Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris) said.

“This year’s state budget, which I supported, invests more in higher education, and this project at IVCC is long overdue. The new building will certainly play a role in helping attract and keep more students interested in agriculture from Illinois here, and it will help them better prepare for their career. With agriculture as the state’s number one economic driver, this is also a smart investment.”

In total, $150 million is being invested in capital improvements for community colleges across the state.


What will SIUC do with $1.9 million in AIM HIGH money?
Carbondale Southern Illinoisan
Wednesday, September 19, 2018  |   Article  |   GABRIEL NEELY-STREIT
Education--Higher (37)

CARBONDALE— State legislators set aside $25 million this year to help public universities stem the Illinois “brain-drain,” and $1.9 million of that will go to SIU Carbondale, according to university officials.

The AIM HIGH Grant will help state universities try new financial aid strategies to reduce the number of Illinoisans choosing colleges in other states. Currently, more students leave Illinois for college than any other state, except New Jersey.

Eastern Illinois University has already announced how it will spend its near $1 million share: three new scholarship programs for local students. But SIUC’s plan is still in the works, according to Jennifer DeHaemers, associate chancellor for enrollment management.

Here’s a look at what EIU’s planning:

The banner program — EIU Promise — will cover 100 percent of tuition and fees for any admitted 2019 Freshman whose family income is $61,000 or less, and who achieves an 18 on the ACT and a 3.0 GPA.

EIU will also now match the cost of competitor public schools in surrounding states, including the financial aid they award to prospective students, and will offer bonuses to EIU students receiving merit scholarships.

“I’m confident that with these programs we’ll meet our enrollment goals for the next enrollment cycle,” said Josh Norman, a strategic enrollment planning specialist with EIU’s Department of Enrollment Management. “We’ll be centering some of our marketing around these programs.”

The University of Illinois led Illinois’ higher education pack when it committed, in late August, to eliminate tuition and fees for all 2019 Freshmen reporting below $61,000 in family income.

“They did a fantastic job marketing it. We took notice and thought how can we join them for our population [of students],” Norman said, which is somewhat demographically different from U of I’s.

The U of I program — Illinois Commitment — does not depend on the AIM HIGH funds, and will cost about $16 million per year once fully operational, according to Kevin Pitts, U of I Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education.

But regardless of how it’s achieved, there is tremendous marketing power to “simplifying the concept of financial aid,” Pitts said.

“The perception of cost for low- and middle-income students is enough to dissuade many of them from even applying,” Pitts said, when in reality, many of those students would receive aid greatly reducing the cost of attendance.

Now, rather than fretting about what percentage of a $16,000-$21,000 tuition bill would be covered by financial aid, a low-income student considering U of I will see a big fat zero.

The same will be true of qualifying students at EIU, where tuition and fees totaled $11,510.98 this year.

And even if students choose another school, simply securing more applications is highly valuable to a university, Pitts said.

“If a student says no to Illinois, we still learn quite a bit about them from surveys and the application process,” Pitts said, info that can be used in future recruitment efforts.

SIUC might choose to emulate EIU and U of I with its AIM HIGH money, offering blanket tuition relief for a certain group. Or it could create its own merit-based criteria to award the money. That’s the beauty of this funding, said Lynne Baker, Director of Communications for the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, which will disburse the grant.

“The unrestricted nature of the AIM HIGH funds allows the schools to tailor their own programs,” Baker said, and form recruitment strategies around them.

One tricky aspect for SIUC administrators is that the AIM HIGH state money must be matched with university funds. That means the university must come up with an additional $1.9 million to disburse in financial aid from 2019-2023.

At EIU, administrators are counting on a positive response from donors excited about the program to help pay for it.

“We’re hoping to raise between $250,000 and $300,000 from the Eastern Illinois University Foundation,” EIU’s donor fundraising branch, Norman said. “I fully believe we’ll raise that money, because who wouldn’t want to support an institution that is doing right by our students, by the state and by secondary education in Illinois?”

And though the AIM HIGH money will spur recruitment competition, the hope is that Illinois higher education as a whole will rebound, Norman said.

“If we kept even half of these students in the state of Illinois, you wouldn’t see the enrollment drop you’ve seen in the last 10 years,” Norman said.

 


Morning Spin
Chicago Tribune
Wednesday, September 19, 2018  |   Editorial  |   Editorial Board
Candidates--Statewide (12)

The candidates for Illinois comptroller will square off at a Tribune Editorial Board meeting Wednesday in a race between the Democratic incumbent who could weigh a bid for mayor and a former Republican state lawmaker.

The meeting between Democratic Comptroller Susana Mendoza and Republican challenger Darlene Senger will be livestreamed at the Chicago Tribune Facebook page at 11 a.m. Click here to watch.

Mendoza has been asked repeatedly about a mayoral bid but has said she is focusing on her November re-election campaign against Senger.

Senger is a former member of the Illinois House known for her work on a bipartisan plan to cut state worker pensions that was ultimately overturned by the state Supreme Court. After her legislative career, she joined the Rauner administration.

The two candidates are vying for a four-year term as comptroller, after Mendoza won a special election to fill the final two years of the term won by the late Judy Baar Topinka.

A former backer of Jesus “Chuy” Garcia last week started a draft effort to try to get Mendoza to run for mayor, but she hasn’t said much publicly yet.

“I am nothing but flattered and honored by the many calls of support urging me to run for mayor of Chicago, which would be an honor and a privilege, but right now I am focused on running for re-election and supporting the statewide Democratic ticket,” she said in a statement. (Mike Riopell)

What’s on tap

*Mayor Rahm Emanuel has no public events scheduled.

*Gov. Bruce Rauner has no public events scheduled.

From the notebook

*McCarthy coming in hot: Mayoral candidate and former Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy wasted little time Tuesday taking shots at two of the newest candidates in the race for Chicago mayor: Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and former U.S. Commerce Secretary and onetime White House chief of staff Bill Daley.

“Here’s what Chicago gets from … Preckwinkle: repeat criminals continue to wreak havoc on Chicago’s streets,” McCarthy tweeted. “Daley: beholden to corporate interests and fiscal mismanagement of City Hall.”

McCarthy then concluded by saying he stood for “government accountability through business management, safe neighborhoods and a forensic accounting of City Hall. McCarthy or the machine — the choice is clear, Chicago.” (Bill Ruthhart)

What we’re writing

*2011 mayoral candidate Gery Chico to get into crowded Chicago mayor’s race to succeed Rahm Emanuel.

*Illinois attorney general candidates defend their TV attack ads in first meeting.

*Gov. Bruce Rauner says assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh ‘should disqualify him’ if founded.

*Gov. Bruce Rauner nets endorsement from business groups, assails J.B. Pritzker on tax plan.

*Van Dyke’s partner, testifying under immunity, says shooting video doesn’t accurately depict what he saw.

*Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to write book after he leaves office on ‘Why mayors run the world.’

*Horse-drawn carriage owners sue animal welfare activists.

*With Emanuel on the way out, aldermen to push for hearings on lead in Chicago drinking water.

*Fish, fabric and furniture: Trump’s latest tariffs will hit consumers after the holidays, local companies warn.

What we’re reading

*Bert and Ernie are gay, former writer confirms. Sesame Street says they’re just ‘best friends.’

*Kanye West to local high schoolers: ‘I’m moving back to Chicago.’

*Tesla facing Justice Department investigation over Elon Musk tweets.

Follow the money

*Track Illinois campaign contributions in real time here and here.

Beyond Chicago

*‘Nightmare that won’t end’: Florence death toll rises to 35 as evacuees are told not to return home yet.

*Michael Jordan donates $2 million to Hurricane Florence relief.

*Trump says he feels ‘so badly’ for Kavanaugh as Dems, GOP argue over who will testify.

*Trump says U.S. considering permanent military base in Poland that Polish president wants to call ‘Fort Trump.’


Illinois finances treading water at best, new Moody’s report concludes As the gubernatorial election nears, the rating agency warns that the state will never pare down its stack of IOUs unless something changes.
Crain's Chicago Business
Wednesday, September 19, 2018  |   Column  |   Greg Hinz
Bonds, Bonding, Borrowing, Debt, Credit Rating

As the gubernatorial election nears, the rating agency warns that the state will never pare down its stack of IOUs unless something changes.

With the gubernatorial election now just seven weeks away, a dour report issued today by Moody’s Investors’ Service underlines just what’s at stake for Illinois and its taxpayers.

The report technically is about the impact of a couple of new laws intended to make it easier for the state to juggle its available cash. But the real news is that, despite a roaring national economy that can’t continue forever, Illinois still is pretty much treading water when it comes to paying off old bills.

Specifically, the report says that after peaking at roughly $17 billion in October 2017, the state’s stack of short-term IOUs to vendors, school districts and others did decline to about $9 billion in November. But that’s only because the state traded short-term debt for long-term bonds, paying $6 billion in bills by issuing that much in general obligation bonds.

The borrowing arguably made sense, because the state pays 12 percent interest to vendors on overdue bills, but can finance bonds at half or less of that cost.

The problem is that since November, the remaining stack of debt has been pretty flat, declining to only about $8 billion. “To fully eliminate the backlog without resorting to non-recurring tactics such as further bonding, the state would have to do something that the new laws do not require: achieve budget surpluses over the course of several years,” Moody’s concluded.

One of the new laws requires the state to budget for interest on overdue bills. The other allows the comptroller to dip into special state funds that have excess cash, borrowing the money temporarily to pay off bills. The latter measure “will help contain growth in penalties on late bill payments, but it will not necessarily lead to the backlog's elimination,” Moody’s noted. In other words, it will help curb fast-rising short-term interest costs that approached the $1 billion mark in fiscal 2018, but won’t eliminate the IOUs themselves.

All of that suggests the state finances now are sort of stable. But we’re not making progress paying off the bills we ran up before—and that’s not including well over $130 billion in unfunded pension liability—and Moody’s isn’t counting increased spending on schools and other programs that’s being pushed in Springfield.

When that hits, and when the inevitable economic downtown occurs, something is going to happen: another tax hike, huge spending cuts, or both. Unless the state’s economy suddenly takes off like a blue bird and creates lots of new revenues. That’s the between-the-lines reminder from Moody’s in today’s report.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated but relevant development, the state’s major business groups formally threw their backing to incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner over Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker. Among groups issuing statements were the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and NFIB Illinois. All said in statements that they have more faith in the incumbent than his challenger to pursue pro-business policies that will grow the economy and state revenues.

Update: Pritzker’s spokeswoman, in a statement, responds to Moody's report: "Bruce Rauner’s 736-day budget crisis tripled the bill backlog, leaving Illinois with $16 billion in unpaid bills and wasting $1 billion on late payment fees alone. Credit agencies and working families across this state know that Bruce Rauner’s damage is done and it will take years to recover. J.B. is running to clean up this failed governor’s mess and bring fiscal responsibility back to Springfield by introducing balanced budgets, passing a fair tax and growing the economy statewide.”

Nothing yet from Team Rauner.

Update—And now Rauner's spokeswoman is commenting: "The successful implementation of a bipartisan bicameral budget for this fiscal year is certainly a step forward for Illinois. But in order to achieve long term financial success, Illinois must continue down the path Governor Rauner has laid out with structural reforms to grow our economy, create more jobs for Illinois families and roll back taxes."


Column: No magic for school funding and lottery
LaSalle News Tribune
Wednesday, September 19, 2018  |   Column  |  
Education Funding (36a) , Lottery (61)

About every time one of our local schools runs into financial issues, some form of this comment comes back on the NewsTribune social media accounts.

“I thought the lottery was supposed to pay for this. Where is the lottery money?”

Since the Illinois Lottery’s inception in 1975, it has contributed more than $19 billion to Illinois’ Common School Fund — a fund specifically earmarked for education expenses in Illinois.

But was the lottery ever supposed to completely fix education funding in the prairie state?

Last year, the Illinois Lottery contributed an estimated $720 million to the common school fund, which is about 26 percent of the revenues from the lottery. A majority of the lottery’s revenues — around 70 percent — go back to the winners for their prizes, according to the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability’s 2017 gaming report. What’s left over after prizes and schools are paid are administrative expenses, and minor payments to the capital projects and special funds.

While $720 million looks like a lot of money, it’s a drop in the bucket for the billions of dollars Illinois spends each year on education. When split evenly among Illinois’ 3,796 public schools, it comes out to a little more than $19,000 per school. At the end of the day, that only covers about half of a teacher’s salary.

The $720 million that Illinois was estimated to earn in 2017 was a higher figure than the state has ever seen before. The lottery has mostly been a steady beast of revenue for the state over the past two decades. Some years are better than others, but growth has never been substantial. And now, in Illinois’ ever expanding gaming industry, the lottery competes with casinos, video gaming machines and horse racing for revenue. Only the riverboats and the lottery contribute funding to Illinois education.

Heading into 2012, a private manager, Northstar Lottery Group, took over the Illinois Lottery with the goal of boosting marketing and revenues. Things did not go as planned. Sales did not increase as expected and Northstar was accused of defrauding retailers and purchasers by manipulating the number of scratch off tickets sold and stopping sales before all winning tickets were sold.

Northstar and Illinois terminated their contract in 2015 but Northstar still managed the lottery until a new manager could be found. That manager was Camelot Illinois, who was selected as the new lottery manager last fall.

Whether Camelot can right the ship in Illinois remains to be seen. According to The Associated Press, the group has plans to roll out new games. One of their biggest new marketing tactics features a sassy genie played by Leslie David Baker, known for his role as Stanley Hudson in “The Office.” Baker is the face of the new #MultipleWishes campaign.

But if you’re wishing for the lottery to somehow step up and pay for education in Illinois, you’re out of luck.

Education, unfortunately, will remain mostly on the backs of local property tax payers. An average of 68 percent of school district budgets come from local funding, according to Illinois Report Card. Only about 24 percent comes from the state. And while the state can rearrange where money goes with the new school funding formula, its contributions will not increase until it can earn more revenue. Yes, the lottery can help with that. But how much?


La Salle County Republicans undecided on Rep. Long
LaSalle News Tribune
Wednesday, September 19, 2018  |   Article  |  
Long, Jerry Lee--State House, 76 , Rezin, Sue--State Senate 38

Not all Republicans are lining up to sever ties with state Rep. Jerry Long (R-Streator) following a third party investigation into allegations of physical harassment lodged earlier this month.

Local senator Rezin says Rep. Jerry Long should resign

La Salle County Republican chairman Don Jensen said he expects a statement will be released either later today or tomorrow regarding the county central committee’s support for Long.

While the local Republicans were wavering on the results of the investigation into allegations of harassment, Long was lashing out at state Sen. Sue Rezin yesterday. Rezin released a statement Monday evening condemning harassment and calling for Long's resignation.

On Facebook Long claimed Rezin "succumbed to political pressure and chose to toe the Party line, rather than learning the facts regarding the allegations made against me and formulating her own opinion. Especially after I had explained to her the truth is shortly to come out."

Rezin said Long never made any such claim. Instead, she said Wednesday:

"After the allegations against Rep. Long were reported last Thursday, I reached out to Rep. Long Friday morning. He told me he couldn't discuss them and instead, he would have his lawyer call me. After four days, that never occurred, and that still hasn't occurred. Rep. Long's own caucus conducted a third party investigation and determined by that investigation that his behavior warranted his resignation. I made my statement. This isn't about me."

Long said he will speak with only the Ottawa paper about the harassment charges lodged against him. He claims he can provide "the truth."

The House Republican Office and its Leader, state Rep. Jim Durkin of Westchester called for Long’s resignation last week and pulled support for him immediately. The state party followed suit and state Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris) also called for him to resign.

Jensen would not comment on why the local organization has been slow to issue a statement since the initial allegations were made public last week.

Long states on his Facebook page that he “answers to the voters and not the party.” He said the allegations of harassment were made by a campaign staffer hired by the HRO. The state Republican party and the House Republicans had funneled $2 million into Long’s campaign before the allegations, with Durkin contributing another $41,000 only to abruptly withdraw support about eight weeks before the election.

Long is being challenged for a second term by Ottawa Democrat Lance Yednock. Even if Long were to resign, it would be too late to get his name off the ballot.


Labor leader at Caseyville rally: 'Vote often, vote early...whatever you can get away with'
Madison County Record
Wednesday, September 19, 2018  |   Article  |   By Ann Maher
Election Issues (not candidates) (39) , Metro East (65)



From left: candidates Kevin Hoerner, Brendan Kelly, Andrew Lopinot, John O'Gara, Heinz Rudolf and Chris Kolker. All but O'Gara have received contributions from Steamfitters Local 439.  


An O'Fallon attorney who's been involved in voter integrity initiatives as a volunteer for six years and who's also running for circuit judge in the Twentieth Judicial Circuit said he is "very disturbed" by a video circulating on social media of a local labor leader encouraging people to "vote early and often," as in "East St. Louis."

Paul Evans, a Republican, said it is particularly bothersome because he was reviewing evidence on Tuesday of what he says is voter fraud in Cahokia - in the form of a voter registration card issued to Kymmondre D. Mitchell on Howell Avenue. The problem is that the owner of the property says no such person currently lives there or has ever lived there.

"My frustration is that when we try and bring this to the attention of persons in authority - there is a lack of interest," Evans said. "I am told to contact the voter fraud hotline. Nothing ever happens."

Evans and others frustrated by officials' lack of interest in alleged voter fraud pointed to a Democratic political event on Saturday in Caseyville - where several big name politicians appeared -  as an example of that indifference.


At the event, the head of Steamfitters Local 439, Totsy Bailey, rallied a crowd of laborers, saying that gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker was going to win, and "win big," but, "he won't win if you do not get out and vote."

"You need to early vote...like I say, East St. Louis...vote often, vote early...whatever you can get away with. I shouldn't say that. I really don't care," Bailey said.

Bailey was on a stage introducing speakers, but the video does not show who spoke after he made his statements. He was contacted for comment on Monday, but has not returned a phone call.

Politicians who attended the event include Sen. Dick Durbin, gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker, State's Attorney and congressional candidate Brendan Kelly, Fifth District Appellate Court candidate Kevin Hoerner and St. Clair County associate judges John O'Gara, Heinz Rudolf and Chris Kolker, who are running for circuit court seats.

Kelly, who helps oversee voter integrity in the county, along with the sheriff and county clerk, said he did not hear Bailey's remarks.

"But as a state's attorney who's prosecuted more state election charges than any prosecutor in southern Illinois and sent people to prison for it, let me take this opportunity to remind the public they can report election misconduct to the Southern Illinois Public Corruption Task Force tip line at 618-589-7353," he said in a statement.

Belleville attorney and candidate for circuit judge in St. Clair County, Laninya Cason, took offense at Bailey's remarks.

She said that State's Attorney Kelly's response in telling the public to call the voter fraud hotline was hypocritical.

"Did he hotline himself? Isn't he in charge of voter integrity?" she said.

Cason, who is originally from East St. Louis and whose family still lives there, also said there were several persons who spoke after Bailey's remarks who did not take an opportunity to walk back what he said.

"I didn't see any Black people there, so he (Bailey) felt really comfortable," she said. "If there were any Black people there they would say they weren't."

In the November election, Cason faces Kolker; Evans faces O'Gara. Republican Katherine Ruocco faces Rudolf.

As for his voter integrity effort, Evans said through his involvement in political campaigns he has seen what he calls "a lot of fraud."

He got involved, he said, because so many people have felt disenfranchised by fraud.

"People want to feel their votes matter," he said.

He said fraud occurs in distressed communities because of economic pressures where people will take money however they can get it, and persons in authority "look the other way."


Kinzinger ‘evolves’ thinking on tariffs
Ottawa Daily Times
Wednesday, September 19, 2018  |   Article  |  
Agriculture (2) , Congress (22) , President (73)

Congressman Adam Kinzinger has served the 16th Congressional District since 2013 and has been in Congress since 2011 and in that time he’s learned to not be afraid to shift his perspective on issues.

In a meeting with Shaw Media editors Tuesday at The Times office, Kinzinger, R-Channahon, said specifically he’s “evolved” his thinking on tariffs and while he doesn’t support all tariffs he does see value in some of them.

“I initially recoiled at the thought of any version of a tariff anywhere,” said Kinzinger, who met with the Shaw Media Editorial Board on Tuesday in Ottawa. “I’m a free trader and I’m a believer that American products on the market can crush anyone else's.”

Kinzinger faces a challenge this fall from Sara Dady, a Rockford Democrat and immigration lawyer. Both are vying to represent the 16th Congressional District, which includes La Salle County. President Donald Trump carried the district by more than 17 points in 2016.

A future meeting is scheduled with Dady.

Kinzinger said he originally opposed all tariffs considered by the Trump administration, and although he still opposes some, such as on steel and aluminum from places such as Canada and Europe, he now sees the need for using them to put the squeeze on China. Kinzinger said throughout his visits in the district he’s heard about American businesses struggling over targeted tariffs from China designed to drive prices down, ploys to steal technology used in manufacturing products there, and other government interference.

“That’s unfair and right now I think our best way to push back against that is through using our economic system, especially because the Chinese system is very tenuous,” Kinzinger said. “So, while I’m nervous about it and frankly I don’t know if I’d do the additional $200 billion in sanctions, I certainly hope the president is successful.”

Health care reform

Kinzinger said health care reform was one area where partisan politics were impeding progress in Washington. Kinzinger voted to replace the Affordable Health Care Act with The American Health Care Act, which missed approval by one vote, with all Democrats opposed.

He said his hope is that Congress will work toward making health care accessible and affordable for the poor, middle class and wealthy.

“I don’t think your pocketbook should be a determination whether you live or die,” Kinzinger said.

He hopes to do this by working to bring costs down and finding a way to encourage transparency in billing so consumers recognize cost differences from hospitals and clinics as well as generate competition between institutions. He added he would like to see protections for those with pre-existing conditions included as well as penalties for people who try to game the system by picking up insurance when they're sick and dropping it when they’re not.

Kinzinger admitted that it’s difficult to bridge the gap between Republicans and Democrats when President Trump continues to divide the parties with Twitter attacks.

“I think if you talk with most Republicans, they’re conflicted with policies we agree with and tone we don’t,” Kinzinger said. “So, I’ll just continue to be a counterexample.”

He added he’s supportive of President Trump's actions to this point and credits him with the recent economic upswing, but he is reminded a new generation of Republicans will be quick to succeed him.

“I hope he’s president for another six years, but he’ll be done at some point and there will be this generation that’s my age and younger that’s going to define what the Republican party looks like,” Kinzinger said.

“Whether I’ll be in this job or not by then, to the extent that I can have a piece of that conversation now is essential,” he added.

Opioid epidemic

Kinzinger said grassroots campaigns are vital to combating the opioid epidemic, but noted there are some potential regulatory aids that can assist.

He said treatment facilities are sometimes limited in the number of beds they can have by federal regulations imposed decades ago meant to prevent people from becoming institutionalized; these regulations should be revised, he said.

He added alternatives to opioid painkillers should be used, including medical marijuana, which he supports. He added that he supported a measure allowing Veterans Administration doctors to prescribe medical marijuana in states that allow it.

Kinzinger also said for some it’s up to others to be aware if they have prescription medications within reach of children as some pick up the habit through finding pain relievers at home.

Town halls

Kinzinger rejected the criticism that he’s not easily accessible to or engaged with his constituents, calling this line of attack a key maneuver in the Democrats' “playbook.”

He said he had two town halls last year, but was criticized for them not taking place in the right venue or setting. He said he’s open to “legitimate” town hall discussions and public forums that discuss issues, such as human trafficking but not those created by the Democratic party designed to favor one party over the issues.

Earmark spending

Kinzinger said one of the larger frustrations in his position is he is unable to direct spending to specific issues in the district.

The spending, known as earmark spending, was temporarily banned in February 2011 and prohibits lawmakers from using Congressional funds for specific local projects.

Kinzinger said he hopes to restore earmarks in a new, reformed system that prevents abuse so he can divert money to his district.

Wind farms

Kinzinger said he thinks wind power is important but understands the frustrations of some who say they've become too prevalent.

He said the government should encourage a level playing field and occasionally should step in to give advantages to new technologies to help get them off the ground and be able to rely on them. Now, wind power provides a great deal of power and the government is phasing out its tax credits to farms.

"I think wind power is important. I share the frustrations of a lot of people that when I drive or fly my little plane and I see nothing but wind turbines it can be a bit of an eyesore, so it's a give and take but I think the federal government helps to stand up technolgies but it needs to walk away too and that's the role we're playing right now," he said.