Candidate Profile: Rodney Davis

Congressman rallies support for Trump at steel mill

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis was at Granite City Steel on Thursday ahead of President Donald Trump's visit to the mill in southern Illinois near St. Louis, MO. He discusses administration policy successes.
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U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis was at Granite City Steel on Thursday ahead of President Donald Trump's visit to the mill in southern Illinois near St. Louis, MO. He discusses administration policy successes.

Name: Rodney Davis

Office seeking: U.S. Representative - Illinois 13th Congressional District

Party: Republican

Age: 48

City of residence: Taylorville

Campaign website: www.electrodney.com

Why are you running and why should people vote for you? Republican policies in Washington are working to unleash economic growth. We reformed our tax code to make it more competitive for American businesses and lower the tax rate for every worker so next year the average family of four will save nearly $2,000. I stood with President Trump to celebrate hundreds of jobs coming back to Granite City in July. Additionally, we’ve rolled back unnecessary Obama-era regulations giving businesses certainty, increasing energy production, and growing jobs. We must have a trained workforce for the new jobs being created. I was proud to bring Ivanka Trump to Lewis and Clark Community College to discuss what they and local businesses need to keep growing and training workers. Congress passed an overhaul of Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs and I’m currently fighting to make historic workforce training investments within the farm bill and strengthen work requirements to help end the cycle of poverty for many receiving SNAP benefits. We have to keep implementing pro-growth policies to increase wages and job opportunities. We can’t get distracted or let those who just want to obstruct stop us from continuing economic growth.

Were the steel tariffs the right approach infighting foreign steel dumping? Why or why not? If not, what should have been done? For years, our steel industry has been decimated by foreign countries like China who break our trade laws and dump illegal steel into our markets. I have long fought for stronger protections against these illegal trade practices that hurt American workers. Last Congress, Congressman Bost and I worked to strengthen enforcement measures within trade legislation to prevent the illegal dumping of foreign steel into our markets. This legislation was signed into law. I’m glad President Trump has also made this a priority and I was proud to join him to celebrate hundreds of steelworkers returning to work in Granite City. While I would have preferred the administration just focus more on bad actors, I’m glad we’ve seen steel jobs come back to the area and the administration is making progress renegotiating trade deals with Mexico, Canada, and Europe.

What should be put in place or done to ensure fair trade agreements and long-term stability for everyone in your district? I fully support free trade, but American workers, like the steelworkers in Granite City, have been hurt by countries like China that cheat the global trade system. Unfortunately, while many of our trade deals are free,they aren’t fair. In order to obtain fair trade deals, the President must be given leverage to negotiate. While retaliation to tariffs are concerning, we’re seeing countries come to the negotiating table. That’s what I’m hearing from my farmers who have asked that I be patient with the President’s tariffs as they weather the brunt of retaliation in hopes of expanded markets. With that said, we need to start seeing favorable outcomes. Recent announcements show it’s clear we’re headed in the right direction. From the announcement of a trilateral agreement on NAFTA modernization, signing of a revised trade deal with South Korea, and the ongoing bilateral talks with both Japan and the EU, it’s clear this administration is committed to long-term, free and fair trade deals. It’s my hope that as we come to terms with our allies, we can focus our attention on China as a united front to ensure the global trade system fairer tomorrow than it is today.

Would you term limit yourself? If so, how many terms? We’re up for election every two years and voters have the choice to keep us or vote us out. I support reforms to our redistricting process to prevent corruption within the system. Ensuring our government is working for the people and fighting against corruption is a top priority for me. I introduced the Protecting Taxpayers from Corruption Act,which makes it so any member of Congress who has been convicted of a crime related to their public service duties ineligible to receive workers ’compensation. A former member of Congress from Illinois who was convicted of a felony for improper campaign spending and spent time in jail is receiving workers’ compensation benefits. That is wrong and I’m fighting to change the system so this does not happen. I’ve also led an overhaul of House spending reforms that now makes the House the most transparent entity within the federal government. Members of the House’s spending on their offices is more now more transparent than the Senate and any other branch within the federal government.With a female-led office, I helped push through the first reforms to help prevent workplace sexual harassment in the House and Legislative Branch in nearly 30 years.

Has enough been done to address the ongoing opioid epidemic? If not, what else should be done? At the federal level Republicans and Democrats have worked together to pass more than 60 bills and invest nearly $4 billion to address this problem from every angle, including $43 million to Illinois. The Energy and Commerce Committee launched an investigation on pill dumping and the DOJ and DEA announced recently that they are reducing the amount of opioids allowed to be produced in the U.S. We must continue to partner with state and local officials to ensure these resources are working. I was proud to join Reps. Bost and Shimkus in Edwardsville for a roundtable with the U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, officials from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHS),and local stakeholders to discuss what more is needed in this area to fight the opioid epidemic. I am working to pass legislation to prevent ‘pharmacy shopping’ of opioids. This was a problem brought to me by law enforcement officials in my district. I introduced H.R. 5219, the Opioid Prescription Verification Act, to help law enforcement slow the movement of opioids into the illegal market. I hope we can continue to address this epidemic in a bipartisan way.

Was eliminating a fine for not having health insurance as required in the Affordable Care Act the right thing to do? Why o rwhy not? What parts of the ACA should be changed? Even if you can afford to pay the monthly premiums, out of pocket costs under Obamacare are so high that many don’t have insurance they can afford to use. The individual mandate violates religious liberties for those like Christian Scientists at Principia College. I’ve worked with them to pass the EACH Act to ensure their First Amendment rights are protected under the law. The House passed H.R. 1101 to allow small businesses to pool together to offer insurance, but I believe we can go further by allowing groups, like AARP,do the same. The American Health Care Act (AHCA) included reforms that the Congressional Budget Office confirms will lower monthly premiums, provide a trillion dollars in tax relief, and reduce the deficit by $119 billion. It includes multiple layers of protection for people with pre-existing conditions,which as the husband of a 19-year cancer survivor, is extremely important tome. Expanding Medicaid and Medicare is not the answer. Obamacare led to 1 in 4people being on Medicaid in Illinois and 44 percent of the expanded population are working-aged males ages 19 to 34. This is contributing to doctors denying Medicaid patients or long waiting periods for care.

Gun violence is a problem. What can and should be done to stop it? I’m still standing here today is because two people, David Bailey and Crystal Griner, had the ability to fire back the day a crazed gunman from Belleville started shooting at me and other Republicans practicing for the Congressional Baseball Game last June. I believe criminals by definition do not care if they break the law and therefore, further restricting law-abiding citizens’ 2nd Amendment right will do nothing to reduce crime.However, there are steps we can take to prevent those who are a danger to themselves and others from getting a gun. I voted to provide funding to allow our schools to increase security, strengthen the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), allow the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to study gun violence, advocated for the administration to ban bump stocks, and we passed monumental mental health legislation. I’ve supported a bipartisan red flag bill (Protecting our Communities and Rights Act of 2018)introduced to provide funding to states that adopt and enact “meaningful and constitutional” extreme risk protection orders (ERPOs) to protect individuals who may be a danger to themselves or others. I believe this balances a person’s rights while protecting them and society.