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BLOOMINGTON — Four-term Congressman Adam Kinzinger, who was unopposed in 2016 in the 16th District, faces a challenger in the Republican primary. Four candidates are vying for the Democratic nomination.

The primary election is March 20.

Kinzinger was elected to Congress in 2010 in the 11th Congressional District. After boundaries were redrawn, he ran and won in the 16th District in 2012 and was re-elected in 2014 and 2016. 

Kinzinger lives in Channahon and is a pilot in the Air National Guard. He is a former member of the McLean County Board.

He is challenged in the primary by James “Jim” Marter of Oswego, owner of Marter Enterprises in Morris, an information technology business. Marter is chair of the Kendall County Republican Party. 

The Democratic candidates are Amy “Murri” Briel of Joliet, a youth soccer coach who previously worked as a case manager for Southwest Women Working Together, an agency helping victims of domestic violence and sexual assault; Sara Dady, a Rockford immigration attorney; Neill Mohammad of DeKalb, a health management consultant for rural, safety-net hospitals; and Beth Vercolio-Osmund, who farms with her husband in Ottawa.

Kinzinger said the way to renew the economy and create opportunities is through pro-growth tax reform, revitalizing the manufacturing base and opening world markets for U.S. products through a fair and level playing field. He said he would “continue to fight for a regulatory environment that encourages growth.”

Marter said cuts made to taxes and regulations in the last year are “a small start” but only a start. Tax cuts are “what gets the economy going,” he said. “They put money in people's pockets and put money in corporations' pockets,” allowing businesses to increase pay or business investments, he said.

Briel said an infrastructure program with a “fair and transparent bidding process” is critical to stimulating the economy and bringing more jobs and investment to communities. That infrastructure program should include providing access to broadband and improvements on rivers used for transportation of goods, she said.

Dady sees jobs as the top issue in the district. “We need a representative who will prioritize bringing back industry and federal dollars to create quality, well paying jobs right here in the district,” she said. Access to college and vocational certification programs is also important, she said.

To produce jobs, Mohammad intends to promote partnerships between manufacturers and vocational programs. He also wants to see Pell Grants and subsidized loans expanded to encourage young people to be the first in their families to go to college. He supports public works projects to restore the national economic infrastructure.

Vercolio-Osmund sees infrastructure improvements as “building blocks to success.” She said, “Strengthening our physical and technological infrastructure will boost the economy of the district, create new opportunities for struggling communities and enhance educational opportunities.” She advocates investing in clean energy.

Follow Lenore Sobota on Twitter @Pg_Sobota


Reporter for The Pantagraph.