Back to Peoria--as long as I can remember the 18th has been Illinois' Peoria seat. Bob Michel, who was House Minority Leader before the successful Newt Gingrich revolution, was from there, as was his successor, Ray LaHood, who was an aide to Michel. When LaHood, who later served as Transportation Secretary for Barack Obama, chose not to run for reelection in 2008, voters chose another Peorian to take his place--Schock.
Flynn's principal opponent in next month's Republican primary is LaHood's son, Darin, who lives in a Peoria County suburb.
But Flynn lives in the Mississippi River town of Quincy, 125 miles southwest of Peoria. As for Illinois' River City, population wise, "Peoria is only thirteen percent of the district," Flynn pointed out, "In terms of voter turnout," he went on, "my home of Quincy in Adams County is almost equal to the vote in Peoria." Flynn's campaign headquarters is on the eastern end of the 18th in Bloomington, which is "almost three times the size of Peoria in the district."
|Illinois River at Peoria Heights|
Our state is broke. Illinois has at least $110 in unfunded public worker pension debt and it usually has at least $5 billion in unpaid bills. I asked Flynn if he supports a federal bailout of Illinois. "No, no, no, no," was his defiant answer. There is no reason that the people of other states should rectify the poor decisions made by Illinois politicians, Flynn explained. "I don't believe in bailouts for anybody," Flynn told me, "corporate, government, or anything."
As long as we were on the subject of "No," I asked Flynn if he favors an ObamaCare repeal. "All of it," he replied, "absolutely every bit of it." And Flynn is also against what he calls the "political theater" of voting to repeal ObamaCare and then quietly funding it later, which is precisely what the Republicans in Congress are doing now. Flynn hopes that the US Supreme Court will rule later this month in King vs. Burwell that the federal ObamaCare exchanges are illegal--and he's looking forward to being able to "rip it out and start anew."
|Illinois Amtrak train|
Amtrak has a big presence in the 18th--there is a daily train running from Chicago to Quincy. Former Illinois governor Pat Quinn, a Chicago Democrat, was a big proponent of high speed rail. What does Flynn think of it? "No," was his retort. He likes that word--a lot. "High speed rail doesn't work anywhere near what the projections are." He's right about that. "It is a fantasy the politicians engage in," Flynn continued, "You can't even get the Amtrak system to work right now; it's ridiculous and almost political malpractice to be talking about high speed rail when you've got an existing passenger rail system that is broken."
Millions of bushels of corn is grown in central Illinois--so I asked Flynn about ethanol. "It needs to be phased out--I don't believe in government mandates or handouts to anybody."
|Reagan Trail sign,|
Flynn says he brings items to the table that his main opponent, state Senator Darin LaHood doesn't possess. He has "an actual record of experience outside of just government," adding that, "Senator LaHood--his entire career--professional and political, has been one appointment after another. He knows nothing of the world outside government and politics." Flynn says his background will make it easier for the farmers and small business owners in the 18th to relate to him. He says he's made principled stands on important issues, whereas LaHood "doesn't have the experience or the stomach for that kind of fight."
As for Flynn, he's a breath of fresh air and I hope he's "In-like-Flynn" in Congress this autumn.
The primary election will be held on July 7 and the general will occur on September 10. Early voting has already started.
You can visit his Facebook page here. And you can contribute to his campaign by clicking here.