By Howard Packowitz
NORMAL – Central Illinois Congressman Darin LaHood said Tuesday President Trump’s economic and national security policies are working, although he acknowledged the nation’s chief executive is not a good role model for kids. Still, LaHood doesn’t feel the need to comment on everything the president has to say, as he told reporters after speaking to a group in Normal.
“I don’t necessarily think the president is a role model for my three sons in a lot of ways,” said LaHood.
“My job is not to opine on every tweet. My job is to represent my district and the 710,000 people that I represent,” LaHood also said.
The Republican lawmaker from Dunlap, a former prosecutor, said he’s seen no evidence yet of collusion between President Trump and Russia.
LaHood participated in a question-and-answer session at the Holiday Inn Express in northeast Normal, attended by some community leaders and others in an event hosted by McLean County Board member David Selzer.
LaHood told the gathering said he does not want the U.S. in a prolonged trade war, but he’s willing to give the president flexibility in trying to find a balance between pressuring China for a fairer deal without a long trade war in which agriculture is the pawn.
“Forty percent of the corn and soybeans grown here in McLean County goes somewhere else around the world every year. Eighty percent of the Caterpillar tractors made in Decatur and East Peoria goes somewhere else around the world. We have to have customers and marketplaces through free trade, so free trade equals jobs and economic opportunities,” he said.
LaHood said he’s open to the idea of raising the gas tax to pay for infrastructure improvements, as long as that money is placed in a lock box to guarantee the money will be used for road and bridge repairs.
“I think we have a responsibility and an obligation to say, ‘if we’re taking more of your hard-earned money on tax dollars, that’s going to go into a lock box, and can only be spent on roads and bridges, and that we don’t broaden the definition of infrastructure,” LaHood said.
LaHood praised the president’s national security policies including defeating ISIS, tearing up what the congressman said was a “terrible” nuclear deal with Iran, and forcing concessions from the North Korean dictator.
Howard Packowitz can be reached at [email protected]