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Budget, National Debt Dominates Kirk Town Hall Forum in Frankfort

Sen. Mark Kirk answered questions and outlined his view on the budget deficit in a town hall meeting Saturday.

As a budget battle looms in the nation's capital, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) focused his remarks on the federal deficit and spending during a town hall forum in Frankfort on Saturday.

Kirk took questions from attendees who filled an elementary school gym looking for the opportunity to hear and question their senator.

“I don’t want you to walk out of here feeling completely bad about the future of the United States,” Kirk said, before launching into a discussion on growing federal spending.

The event was supposed to feature freshman Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-11th). An early-morning budget vote prevented Kinzinger from attending in person, but he made remarks via videoconference.

Kinzinger echoed Kirk’s belief that Congress should cut spending in a meaningful way.

“The next couple of years are going to be tough, but we have to do it,” Kinzinger said.

Kinzinger reiterated a belief that supporting business is the only way to create jobs.

“I have a fundamental belief that the federal government cannot create jobs,” Kinzinger said.

Questions posed to Kirk ranged from Afghanistan and environmental regulations, to healthcare policy and legislative philosophy.

Several questions focused on the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to increase emissions regulations. Kirk, who was one of only eight Republicans to vote in favor of a 2009 climate change bill, said he has since changed positions and would vote against it as a senator.

Both Kinzinger and Kirk reiterated a desire to work in a bipartisan manner. Kinzinger cited the recent debate over the President Obama’s proposed budget in the House as an example.

“Even though we are down there arguing passionately, we get along personally,” Kinzinger said.

The audience appeared to trend Republican, although a few participants were met with boos when mentioning Planned Parenthood or teachers’ unions. Kirk moved to temper the objections, repeating the phrase “mutual respect.”

Jim Hardy, a resident of Frankfort Square, attended the town hall with his granddaughter, who recently voted in her first election.

“I have gone to many of these rallies,” Hardy said. “Democracy in action is the most important thing.”

Don Hagemaster, of Frankfort, brought his 7-year-old and 5-year-old.

“It is our way of showing them the importance of being involved in the process,” Hagemaster said.

tim gaffney February 21, 2011 at 01:32 PM
Mr Kinzinger did not attend but via video conference, and i am not suprised. the capitol fax reported he did not vote his first day on the job because he was not there. And that was my question to him. Where was the newly elected congressman? Are your organizational skills that bad? Where is the fighter pilot that drove a bus for the air force. Is your position on economy and health care missing also? Start figuring it out Jobs for 11th district is a big concern also just ask people in 1000 people that applied for 25 warehouse positions.
Dan Lambert February 21, 2011 at 02:41 PM
Hi Tim, thanks for the comment and for sharing your views. However, to be fair to the Congressman it should be repeated that the House was in session until 5 a.m. that morning and he said he was unable to get a flight back in time for the town hall.
julie barker February 21, 2011 at 10:42 PM
what I can not understand is that Plan Parenthood funding is not only back but it's funding has been increased because it is one of President Obama's priority while the funds for EPA have been reduced with his" blessings" and the Republican party. Furthermore their ultimate goal is to eliminate the EPA all together. Put another feather on the hat of the corporate world. I also have not heard about congress voting to reduce their salaries or reduce and cap their pension plans, if they do the talk for their constituents they should also do the walk. I challenge them to walk in the shoes of middle and not so middle class America and then report on the cuts that they will make to live withing a balance budget when the income has been frozen, rolled back, or not even meet the increasing cost of living expenses.
JMH February 26, 2011 at 09:58 PM
Kirk lied: bottom line. He said the stimulus failed; lie. The facts are out by the CBO. The stimulus worked. He lied about the health care bill. His graphs were all lies. What is really sad is that he is good at hoodwinking the American people.
Dean Casper February 27, 2011 at 12:05 AM
Drive through our suburbs and see the dozens of closed businesses. Yes 1000 people show for only a few openings, then look our kids in the eye who are facing this crushing debt and tell us the stimulous worked. $2 trillion! Thats, $2,000,000,o00,ooo or 2,000 billion. The Federal government takes in revenues of $20 billion per month, and it is still not enough! Rep. Kinzinger and the GOP have been in power less than 7 weeks, have a Democrat majority in the Senate, and the threat of veto at all times from President Obama. I think we can give Rep. Kinzinger and the new majority a little more time before blaming the failures of the past Congress.

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