Republican U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger wrapped up a three-day tour of his 16th Congressional District on Thursday, complete with stops at the Princeton Rotary Club, the Dixon YMCA, a Sycamore dairy farm and a pair of Peru factories.
The congressman’s local itinerary, however, did not include any appearances that were open to the public.
Kinzinger, R-Channahon, said that while he plans to continue traveling the district and visiting with various groups, he believes a public event where individuals could protest or yell isn’t a productive idea.
“I’ll continue to be as accessible as I am, I’m home every weekend and home when we’re not in session and I’ll continue to do the best I can to represent people in the district,” Kinzinger said after visiting the Carus Corporation in Peru and participating in an employee town hall there. “People can always jump on Facebook or Twitter to know what I’m doing as well.”
Kinzinger, who’s been critical of former President Donald Trump, has been a frequent guest on national cable news shows as well as a number of appearances on the Sunday morning political programs. He is one of only two Republicans, the other being U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, sitting on a special committee to investigate the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot.
Kinzinger said such trips around the district while Congress is on break helps him stay informed about the thoughts and feelings of the people he represents.
“For me, it’s great to come back because you hear what’s on people’s minds at the moment and that’s important,” Kinzinger said. “You get a sense of what they’re feeling, but also it just regrounds me.”
“In D.C. it can get dark, it can get negative, but then you get to come home and you’re like ‘OK, this is what I’m doing here and this is what I represent,’ it’s great.”— U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Channahon)
“In D.C. it can get dark, it can get negative, but then you get to come home and you’re like ‘OK, this is what I’m doing here and this is what I represent,’ it’s great.”
The representative has received mixed responses after being appointed to the special committee to investigate the events of Jan. 6. While the La Salle County GOP was the first to censure Kinzinger in February, the congressman was met with no protests on his tour, which included two stops Thursday in Peru.
As candidates begin to enter races for the 2022 mid-term elections, 85% of Republicans said in May that they would prefer to see candidates running for elected office who mostly agree with Trump, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll of adults. Overall, a majority of Americans (53%) said they would prefer to see candidates running for elected office who mostly disagree with the former president, while 39% said the opposite.
Kinzinger said he was pleased with what he’s heard from individuals during the trip.
“There’s a lot of concern around the district with the economy and those kinds of things, nuclear particularly,” Kinzinger said. “In terms of the broader stuff, like the Jan. 6 committee for instance, it’s actually been a really supportive response. So it’s been a good trip and I’ll be continuing to travel around the rest of the month and I’m looking forward to it.”
Kinzinger acknowledged that his involvement in the Jan. 6 committee is a polarizing issue for some local Republicans, but said it was still something he believes is worth doing.
“I think there’s obviously strong agreement and strong disagreement, but again my interest is more in what’s the truth,” Kinzinger said. “What’s the lasting impact in this country?”
The goal of his participation, Kinzinger said, is to separate the emotion from the day and get the truth, a message he gave earlier this week to the Princeton Rotary Club.
“This is about, the weight of history is kind of looking down,” Kinzinger said. “There’s a lot of people in the emotion of the moment, but in 10 or 20 years no one is going to feel emotional about 2020, but they will care about the truth and we need the truth.”
Kinzinger said he believes the Republican party had a chance to find the truth on its own, but it was not pursued. While he said not every Republican will support him on this committee, he believes it was something he needed to take part in.
“This is our last chance to get to the bottom of what happened and as much as I want people to support me on it, my oath requires me to do this right now,” Kinzinger said. “If we become a country or a party that says, ‘We’re only going to report facts to what our worldview is at the moment,’ that’s not a recipe for self-governance and survival. Yeah it’s divisive, I get it, but it’s not going to slow me down one bit.”
Kinzinger said he believes that to move forward as a country there has to be cooperation among Democrats and Republicans. He said things can begin to progress in the right direction when the government works together.
“I think on all of these issues that we disagree on, there are things where there’s common ground and I think it’s important to find that,” Kinzinger said. “To get out of the constant ‘Don’t want to give the other side a win,’ mentality. Areas where we disagree and there’ll never be an agreement on that’s OK, but we can debate this as adults, as we always have.”