2012 election candidate questionnaire: Rodney Davis, U.S. House, 13th District

2012 election candidate questionnaire: Rodney Davis, U.S. House, 13th District

Editor's note: The News-Gazette asked candidates to answer questions regarding themselves and the office they seek.

Name: Rodney Davis

Home address: 305 Beechwood Drive, Taylorville, IL 62568

Republican

Date of Birth: January 5, 1970

Political Experience: projects director, Congressman John Shimkus

Acting Executive Director, Illinois Republican Party

Victory 2010 Director

Education: BA, Political Science, Millikin University, 1992

1. Do you favor repealing the Affordable Care Act? If so, should Congress move quickly to approve an alternate health care program that would cover all or most Americans? And what kind of provisions should it include?

Obamacare must not only be repealed, but also replaced with a comprehensive plan that keeps the vital patient-doctor relationship in place and encourages innovative solutions to address our nation's health care needs.

A one-size-fits-all, government-mandated health care system is not the answer. The United States has the best health care in the world; health care that is delivered every day through a system of dedicated physicians, nurses and health care professionals who believe deeply in serving those who need their services. The last thing we need is a health care model run by the government. We must listen to the care providers — doctors, nurses, hospital administrators — to craft a system that gets away from a focus on government programs and instead puts the patient at the center of care.

I have several priorities for replacement of Obamacare:

— Give individuals control of their insurance through tax code changes which encourage individuals to manage their health insurance as opposed to the current employer-based model we have in place.

— Control of costs through tort reform. Defensive medicine practices are pervasive in today's health care. We must have commonsense tort reform which will control a system which has allowed too many frivolous lawsuits and led to very high malpractice insurance rates

— Allow pooling of insurance for individuals and the ability to purchase insurance across state lines.

— Allow insurance coverage for those with pre-existing conditions

— Allow children to stay on parent's insurance until age 26

— Support Federally Qualified Health Clinics and encourage FQHCs to work closely with hospitals and physicians to take the "frequent flyers" out of emergency rooms and into these health centers.

— Improve efforts to combat waste and abuse in federal health systems.

2. In view of the mounting federal debt, do you believe it is practical to call only for spending cuts? What share of federal deficit reduction should come from spending cuts and revenue increases? Please be specific about those shares, and about where you think cuts must be made and where revenue increases should be made?

We must cut federal spending and live within the means of our current annual federal revenue. I do not support raising taxes to achieve a balanced budget and I do not believe we have a "revenue problem" as some have espoused. We must enact policies which encourage private job creation to stimulate the economy. A robust economy, in combination with a restrained federal budget, will put us on the path to balancing our books and starting to pay down our national debt.

I do not support an "across the board" cut in spending, though I believe we must at least look at all options for spending reductions. Finding areas to eliminate fraud and abuse must be paramount.

3. Do you believe the United States should continue to play an activist role in world affairs, or pull back? What do you see as the U.S. role, for the next two years at least, in Afghanistan? In Iraq? In Iran? In Syria?

The United States role in world affairs should be active and promotive of our unique position in the world as the super power which defends democracy, liberty and freedom. We are approaching 2 1/2 centuries during which our country has stood out as a beacon for other countries to emulate. We must have a foreign policy which reflects our distinctive role in the world.

Given the recent events in the Middle East, we need to ensure our embassies are protected around the world. These facilities are sovereign ground for the United States. An attack on our embassies is an attack on the United States. It is totally unacceptable that an Al Qaeda flag flies over our embassies for any amount of time.

We must continue to be vigilant in Afghanistan to protect our citizens against the terrorist threat which has taken root there for far too long. I believe there is good reason why the United States has not seen an attack since September 11, 2001: we have taken the fight to the terrorists in Afghanistan and other parts of the world. It is certainly in our interest to transfer controlling power to the Afghans, but on a timetable which is set not by U.S. political means, but a decision made by the military commanders on the ground to protect the security interests of the United States.

Iran's continued pursuit of nuclear weapons, in direction violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions and its own commitments under the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty, poses a direct threat to U.S. national security and an existential threat to the future of the State of Israel. A nuclear Iran would set off a nuclear arms race in the Middle East and would risk the transfer of nuclear weapons and materials to Iranian terrorist proxies like Hezbollah and Hamas. With the regime's plans for longer range ballistic missiles, a nuclear Iran would not only threaten Israel and Europe but could one day make U.S. soil a direct target as well. Therefore, when it comes to Iran's nuclear program, America must have a policy of prevention rather than containment.

I strongly support the Iran Threat Reduction Act and other efforts to increase sanctions against Iran. Alongside increased economic sanctions, the United States must do more to promote freedom, democracy and human rights inside Iran.

4. Do you view China as a threat to the United States?

As a growing power, and as a major trading nation with us, China is a country we must engage, but also one for which we must be wary. While Illinois and the 13th District rely greatly on grain, machinery and transportation exports to China, we must defend the economic interests of the United States, especially when dealing with China. I'm supportive of engaging China on trade policies which allow our businesses to flourish, but we must pay close attention to their currency as it continues to appreciate. A backslide of Chinese currency is something which would negatively impact the United States economy. The Chinese currency must reflect fair market.

5. What should the United States do to change its immigration system? Do you favor granting amnesty to illegal immigrants already here?

We must first continue to do to more to secure our borders to stem the flow of illegal immigrants. Increased border patrols, finishing border fences and continuing our vigilance through enforcement are keys to controlling the number of illegal immigrants coming to the United States. We must ensure employers are capable of quickly and accurately verifying the eligibility of those who they are hiring. We also must ensure that government benefits do not serve as an enticement for immigrants to illegally enter the United States.

Any path to citizenship for those here illegally must not be a path which places them before others who are going through the process legally.

6. Should the United States normalize relations with Cuba?

Yes. I have been to Cuba and was able to see first-hand what could be done if trade relations were open with Cuba. Our farmers have long advocated opening relations with Cuba because they know this would be a great market for their produce. I agree with our farm community that we should do all we can to normalize relations with Cuba.

7. In view of recent changes in domestic energy production, do you think it should still be a priority to reduce dependence on foreign oil? Are there particular energy sources you would want to increase or decrease reliance on? Should the Energy Department continue to invest in alternate fuels and production methods like FutureGen?

Given the continued instability in the Middle East, I certainly continue to believe we must lessen our dependence on foreign oil. Not only is this imperative for our own national security, but it is imperative for our national economy. Increased domestic energy supplies create jobs here at home.

I am supportive of an "all of the above" energy approach which utilizes all the domestic energy sources we can utilize. We need to increase our renewable fuel capacity, expand domestic production of fossil fuel and improve efforts at energy efficiency.

8. Do you believe it is imperative to block disposals of PCBs and any other hazardous chemicals at the Clinton landfill?

Yes. I share the concerns about the Mahomet Aquifer remaining as a viable source of drinking water for generations to come.

9. What steps should be taken immediately in this Congressional term to make the Medicare program more solvent? Does the Social Security program also face that kind of urgency?

Medicare will be insolvent in 12 years, which means today's first-graders will be seniors in high school when Medicare runs into the red. Social Security will be insolvent in 2033, when Gen Xers will be hitting retirement age. These programs are vital today and they must continue to be vital for our future seniors.

Any discussion about making either of these programs "more solvent" must be put in context of our entire federal budget. In the current fiscal year, these two mandatory-spending programs represented 43 percent of our federal budget. In total, mandatory spending represents almost two-thirds of all federal spending and matches all federal revenue, which means all other federal spending (Defense, transportation, education, agriculture, etc.) are financed through borrowing.

Our first task must be to get federal spending under control and to provide an atmosphere that promotes job growth and economic development. We must provide certainty to our employers so they can create more jobs which in turn will increase revenue. We cannot stifle new jobs through increased taxes.

We must enact a balanced budget amendment and pass annual federal budgets which are in balance. That is a first step we must take to get our fiscal house in order. We then must look at all mandatory spending programs for potential changes which will allow them to stay solvent into the future.

10. Do you believe in climate change/global warming, and if so would you vote for legislation that would mandate reductions in levels of global warming pollution by 2020 or 2025?

Many factors contribute to changes in climate, both man-made and natural. Regardless of your views on global warming, we should all agree that reducing our dependence on foreign oil and cutting air pollution without doing economic harm to our citizens will benefit our national security, environment and public health.

11. What is your position on abortion, and do you believe the federal government has any role in either restricting it or financing it in certain times?

I am pro-life but recognize the exceptions of rape, incest and life of the mother. I do not believe that taxpayer dollars should be used to finance abortions, outside of rape, incest or life of the mother.

12. Is a constitutional amendment needed to define marriage as only between one man and one woman?

I would support a constitutional amendment defining marriage as only between one man and one woman.

13. Would you vote for a constitutional amendment that would prevent the physical desecration of the American flag?

I would support a constitutional amendment to prevent the physical desecration of the American flag because the flag is not simply an object, it represents of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have fought and died to keep our country free. The importance of the symbolism of the American flag was underscored recently when our flag was taken down at our embassies and replaced with an al Qaeda flag.

14. What role should the federal government have in providing passenger rail service? Do you favor continued or even expanded funding for Amtrak? Would you support federal aid for high-speed (110 mph or more) rail service in central Illinois?

In the past 11 months, Amtrak ridership has increased in Illinois by 5.5 percent. The federal government should maintain its role in providing passenger rail service, especially in areas where it's working, such as central Illinois. I understand that passenger rail provides a vital service, especially to the university communities in the 13th District. I am committed to working with local stakeholders regarding their vision for High Speed Rail in Champaign to identify areas where the federal government can be an active partner. If elected, I will seek to obtain a seat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee so the 13th District would be represented directly on issues such as passenger rail and other transportation needs such as the vital interstates which serve Champaign-Urbana.

15. Do you favor vouchers, tuition tax credits, or any other federal aid for private or parochial schools?

I do not favor vouchers for an area such as the 13th District. I do not believe they make sense as it would be financially impossible to make vouchers work in an area with so many rural school districts.

16. Should the federal government continue to provide production tax credits for clean energy projects, such as wind energy?

I support an "all of the above" approach to a strong national energy policy; this includes production tax credits for clean energy projects.

17. What are your priorities for a new farm bill, given that it is unlikely a comprehensive farm bill will be approved by the current Congress

I believe that agriculture deserves a fair and streamlined farm policy. For too many years we have seen others push their agenda into agriculture and rural policies, we need to focus on what producers and rural communities truly need instead of allowing others to use farm policy as a platform to advance environmental and regulatory mandates. I'm hoping to obtain a seat on the House Agriculture Committee and I look forward to working on long-term farm bill if one is not passed in this session.

18. Should the federal government to subsidize crop insurance for farmers? Why or why not?

I believe in sensible crop insurance; a system that provides a safety net for farmers while allowing for more flexibility and other tools that help producers weather sudden downturns.

19. Do you think the federal government has gone too far in trying to protect the United States in the aftermath of 9/11? If so, what should be done?

One of the main reasons the United States has not suffered a terrorist attack since 9/11 is the fact that we have taken the fight to terrorists around the globe. We have succeeded on both the military and diplomatic fronts in combating terrorism. I believe we cannot allow terrorists to again establish a beachhead, such as was the case in Afghanistan, to serve as a base for carrying out attacks against the United States and our allies. We must continue to take the fight to the terrorists.

The coordinated attacks against our embassies and the fomenting of the recent Middle Eastern uprisings only underscores the absurdity of these terrorist groups and their desire to continue attacking Americans and American interests.

20. What do you think your Number One priority, as the representative of the broad and varied central Illinois district, is in Congress?

I will represent the values of the people of central and southwestern Illinois and advocate for the economic interests of the district. The top priority for the next Congress must be to manage our out-of-control Washington spending and finally get our nation on a track to pay down our $16 trillion national debt. Tackling this challenge will put more money in peoples' checkbooks, create a robust economy and allow us to put federal dollars to programs instead of paying off debt.

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Political Observer wrote on October 31, 2012 at 10:10 pm

If Rodney Davis is actually able to defeat Dr. David Gill in the November 6th election and become the 13th Congressional District Representative of Illinois in the US Congress (God forbid!), Central Illinois will become the laughingstock of the entire world.  The reason for this is that Davis’ boss and mentor, John Shimkus, is already one of the absolutely dimmest bulbs in Congress, and for years now has been a complete embarrassment to the State of Illinois… and to the entire country, for that matter.  (There are a number of YouTube videos where you can watch the creationist Shimkus referencing the Book of Genesis in the Bible in a Congressional science committee hearing to “prove” that global warming could not possibly happen, because that would cause flooding, and flooding in turn is inconsistent with God’s promise in Genesis that He would never again destroy the world by a flood…Apparently the creationist Shimkus learned all the science that he ever needed to know from the Book of Genesis in the Bible!)

The key thing here is that Rodney Davis has worked as a Congressional aide for his mentor John Shimkus for some 16 years now, and he shares many of the very extreme, oddball views of Shimkus, even though he tries very, very hard to hide it.

While Davis is good at pretending that he’s his own man and he claims that he’s completely independent of Shimkus, occasionally his mask slips aside, and we have an opportunity to see the real Rodney Davis, and observe how he’s virtually a clone of the extreme oddball, Shimkus.

One of the places where this happened recently is in a 10-16-12 interview of Rodney Davis on WILL radio, conducted by interviewer Craig Cohen.  At 42:15 minutes into the interview, a listener named Bob asked Davis about his views on the question of global climate change.   Davis responded at 42:51 by first laughing about the question, and then made the bizarre claim, “Ironically, if you listen to recent reports, they say that global warming has stopped 16 years ago!”

In this initial statement, Davis was reaching out to his base of global climate change deniers – those who get their science from Rush Limbaugh and similar sources and who reject the global consensus of atmospheric scientists – and was telling them “I’m one of you.  I don’t believe these foolish claims of global climate change for a minute!”

(Let me parenthetically note here that I believe that Davis actually meant to say “14 years ago,” because for some time, many climate change deniers have been claiming that global warming stopped in 1998.)

In any event, when the questioner Bob heard Davis’ bizarre claim about global warming having stopped 16 years ago, he immediately interrupted him and said, “That’s absolutely wrong!”  There was then a brief back and forth where each individual tried to talk over the other.  When this stopped, Davis said that what he had wanted to add before he was interrupted was, “I would love to see more stats than what has been reported on just several stations.” [He’s apparently saying that only several stations have so far covered this “new finding” that global warming stopped 16 years ago!]  Davis then immediately transitioned into a statement (at 44:25 minutes in) that was a standard talking point that he has obviously been instructed to say when the subject of global climate change comes up, “I believe climate change is real – the question is whether it’s man-made or natural.”

One could call this sequence of pivots (or some would say flip-flops), “Covering all the bases.”  Davis first said what he believes and what his base wants to hear from him.  Then, when he was immediately challenged on it, he said that he wished there had been more media coverage of the hoax that he apparently fell for.  Finally, he ended up saying his poll-tested statement that was designed to get him off the hook, and to make it look like he didn’t really mean what he said at first.  In that last part, he was telling us that the mask that we just saw slip off, didn’t really slip off, and we didn’t really see what we thought we saw.

This may seem like rather dishonest, two-faced behavior, but it was topped less than a minute later in the WILL interview (at 45:15) when Davis started complaining about how the Peabody Mine #10 in Kincaid, IL, near his hometown of Taylorville, was closed down in the 1990s, all because of some burdensome government regulations that were put out by the EPA.  He said that there was an electrical power plant located in Kincaid, and for years coal was simply mined in the mine across the street from the power plant and then shipped across the street, to supply the fuel for the plant.  However, when the EPA came out with some new rules and regulations in 1990, the coal across the street could no longer be used in the power plant.  This caused the Peabody Mine #10 to be shut down, and that in turn caused many miners to lose their jobs.  Ultimately, the coal for the power plant had to be shipped to Kincaid from way out west, by a train, and so we’re apparently supposed to take this as an example of how ridiculous government regulations can be.

The problem with Rodney’s sad story, though, is that he “forgot” to tell us that the Kincaid plant was mining high-sulphur coal, and the train that was now bringing in coal from out west was bringing in low-sulphur coal to burn in the power plant.  He also neglected to say that the supposedly-terrible federal regulations he was attacking were part of the Clean Air Amendments of 1990, which were designed to lower sulphur dioxide exhaust emissions from Midwest power plants that were causing acid rain in the NE United States and in Canada, and that were also causing respiratory problems for people who had asthma.  Once one realizes that Rodney Davis is actually coming out and saying that he’s in favor of increasing the levels of acidity in acid rain, it seems to me that the whole argument that he’s trying to make just kind of loses its point.

The thing is, though, that Rodney’s argument in this interview in favor of having higher levels of acidity in acid rain is an argument that John Shimkus has been making in Congress for a long, long time.  There are, indeed, many videos available of Shimkus making this argument…He has a large group photo of some coal miners and he holds it up in the air for his audience to see, as he talks about the 1200 miners at Peabody Mine #10 that lost their jobs, just because of some supposedly-silly Government Regulations [that actually help to give us a much better environment to live in].

If Rodney Davis is elected to represent our Congressional district, a district that’s directly adjacent to the district that’s represented by John Shimkus, then these 2 guys will be joined at the hip, representing an area that covers a huge section of Central Illinois.  And thus they’ll make Central Illinois a laughing stock for the rest of the world, as they passionately argue in Congress in favor of having higher levels of acid in the rain that falls from our skies, just like a pair of perfectly-matched and balanced stereo speakers.

Political Observer wrote on October 31, 2012 at 11:10 pm

As noted above, there are many, many YouTube videos where John Shimkus makes Illinois look like an incredibly backward state, when it comes to science and technology

(1)  Rep. John Shimkus: God decides when the "earth will end"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7h08RDYA5E

 (Shimkus reads from Genesis…at a Congressional science committee meeting…Note the look on the face of his blonde aide behind him when he starts to read aloud from the Bible to make his point about global warming.)

and here:

(2)  Rep. John Shimkus: Capping C02 emissions will steal "plant food" from the atmosphere!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdHjhJTf6RE

 (3)  There are a very large number of other videos that you can find by just typing “John Shimkus” into the search window at YouTube.com… Copy and past this phrase

"John Shimkus" Peabody Mine

into the search window if you’d like to see some videos where John Shimkus makes the same argument that Rodney Davis made in the WILL radio interview, advocating for higher levels of acid in acid rain by burning more high-sulphur coal.

 

Political Observer wrote on November 01, 2012 at 1:11 am

This is another great John Shimkus video, the famous “Corporate Titans Are My Friends!” video (although I think he should have said “Friends and Benefactors,” since we all know where his money comes from, right?)

Anyway, for those of you who have heard Rodney Davis speak, isn’t it interesting to see the similarities between Rodney Davis and his boss for the last 16 years, John Shimkus?  They both have the same passion, the same supreme confidence that they’re not only right, but absolutely right…and also that they’re far more morally superior than you or I could possibly be.  Yet at the same time, the speech that they’re making comes out all mixed up and jumbled, lacking in logical thinking, full of catch phrases and slogans, but so incoherent that it’s very difficult to see where they’re going with their argument.

I think Shimkus may be trying to argue here that he's friends with corporate titans, they like him, they support him, he makes them happy, he makes deals with them, but at the same time he represents the little guy, too, and because he's so god-like he can easily do a great job representing both sides.  [If he were an attorney, perhaps he could represent both parties in a civil suit, and save them both money by charging each only half price!]

Anyway, this little speech by John Shimkus sounds just like Rodney Davis talking to Craig Cohen in his WILL radio interview on 10-16-12...

----------------------------------

Shimkus: 'Corporate Titans Are My Friends'

05/20/2009: Stumbling over his talking points, global warming denier Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) engages in a one-man debate whether corporate America is good or evil. His attempts to characterize the Waxman-Markey green economy legislation as an economy destroyer have been neutered as the bill has gained the support of a broad coalition of corporate America, poverty advocates, unions, and environmentalists. In a confused monologue, Shimkus paints himself as a defender of the little guy against corporate greed while also praising the corporations as his friends.

 

Transcript:

SHIMKUS: The responsibility of corporate America, especially the CEO, is to protect shareholder wealth. So they're cutting a deal to make sure that they protect the shareholder wealth. Which goes back to the debate. We're fighting for the ratepayer. This debate is: "Who protects the ratepayer?"

 

The corporate titans are my friends!

 

I'm a Caterpillar supporter. I'm an Exelon supporter. I'm an Ameren supporter. A lot of these companies that have negotiated deals, they support me. But I know that they're in the room to protect shareholder wealth, the wealth of the bond holders, the wealth of the stockholders. And that's okay.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14DPZaDsMEw&feature=related

 

Political Observer wrote on November 01, 2012 at 12:11 am

The burdensome government regulations that Rodney Davis talked about in his WILL radio interview with Craig Cohen, as noted above (that shut down Peabody Mine #10), are actually the “Clean Air Amendments of 1990,” that were passed by a large bipartisan majority of Congress, and proudly signed into law by President George H. W. Bush!!

------------------------------

http://www.epa.gov/oar/caa/CAA_1990_amendments.pdf

[Excerpt 1]  On November 15, 1990 the Clean Air Act was revised with overwhelming bipartisan support and signed into law by President George H. W. Bush. Specifically the amendments were designed to curb four major threats to the environment and to the health of millions of Americans: acid rain, urban air pollution, toxic air emissions, and stratospheric ozone depletion. The amendments also established a national operating permits program to make the law more workable, and strengthened enforcement to help ensure better compliance with the Act.

[Excerpt 2] "Combating acid rain, cleaner power plants, significant economic benefits"

The Acid Rain Program (ARP), established under Title IV of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, requires major emission reductions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), the primary pollutants that form acid rain, from the electric power industry.

- The ARP was the first large-scale cap and trade program in the world and has been successful in reducing these pollutants, despite large increases in electricity generation.

- Benefits include improvements in air quality with significant benefits to human health; reductions in acid rain; the beginnings of recovery from acidification in fresh water lakes and streams; improvements in visibility; and reduced risk to forests, materials, and structures.

- Under the Acid Rain Program power plants have reduced annual SO2 emissions by 64 percent compared with 1990 levels. From 1995 to 2009, annual NOx emissions from ARP units dropped by about 4.1 million tons, a net decrease of 67 percent (other programs contributed to NOx reductions from power plants, including the OTC NOx Budget Program (1999-2002) and the NOx Budget Trading Program (2003-2008))

- Acid deposition has decreased by more than 40 percent in the Eastern United States since 1990 under a cap-and-trade program for power plants.

- The benefits of the acid rain program outweigh the costs by more than 46-to-1 (at the lower avoided mortality estimate).

- Analysis of the Acid Rain SO2 trading program by Resources for the Future (RFF) estimates that the program cost 82% lower than originally projected by EPA.

- More information www.epa.gov/airmarkets/progress/progress-reports.html.