By Anne Eickstadt

ANNE EICKSTADT PHOTO Belvidere Daily Republican
Congressman Adam Kinzinger visits with the students at North Boone High School on Monday, March 12.


Congressman Kinzinger arrived at North Boone High School to a group of students ready to hear what he had to say and interact with questions of their own. The Congressman began by telling of his early years and how he eventually became a congressman.

Kinzinger was born in 1978 in Kankakee, the son of an elementary school teacher, and a CEO of faith-based organizations. He was raised in Bloomington. He graduated from Normal Community West High School in 1996 and earned a bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University in 2000.

“I had an interest in government and politics even back in high school,” Kinzinger said. “In 1998, at ISU someone told me I should run for the County Board. I have always looked young and many people laughed and told me I couldn’t do it. I ran anyway and defeated the incumbent Board member.

“I had just earned my pilot’s license when 9-11 occurred. It was one of two pivotal moments for me and I decided to become a pilot in the Air Force.”

Kinzinger flew missions in South America, Guam, Iraq and Afghanistan. He has served in the Air Force Special Operations Command, Air Combat Command, Air Mobility Command, and Air National Guard and was progressively promoted to his current rank of Major.

“After my third tour, I returned from Afghanistan and announced I was going to run for Congress. Again, people laughed and told me I couldn’t do it. I ran and I won.

“I recently attended my high school reunion. I found that people remember how you treated them, if you were nice to them or were mean. Are you an encourager or are you mean to people?

“Failure is okay, too, you can learn a lot. I have never chased money but I have always made more money in my ventures than I had made before. Don’t chase money. Chase what your heart is as hard as you can.

“I have done two of the three jobs I always wanted to do. If I hadn’t been an Air Force pilot, if I hadn’t become a Congressman, I would have been a police officer. I am still in the Air Force. On weekends I fly to join my unit and fly.”

“Guns are an issue of the heart,” he said in response to a question from a high school student. “When someone decides to commit gun violence, that’s a problem. There is a disconnection in this country right now. I have voted for tighter background checks, to ban bump stocks, and to raise the gun purchasing age to 21. However, most murders with guns are with pistols, not semi-automatic weapons.

“What was it like to walk into Congress for the first time as a Congressman? It’s crazy. When running for office, I was very busy. When I won, there were thousands of people at a party to celebrate. Then I went through an orientation period as congressman-elect. When I walked up to the building, it was an incredible feeling. I still get a strong feeling walking up to the building.

“My advice for anyone wanting to make politics their career is: for now, chase everything else you are interested in. Join community organizations, JCs, Rotary, a political party – pursue your life outside that. When the right time and opportunity arrive – When you see that opportunity, do it. Be willing to make a bold move and do it. Don’t be afraid to fail.

Kinzinger recounted how he failed during his first attempt at college. “I didn’t give it my full effort because I was afraid to fail.” He re-applied and was given a second chance where he made straight

For complete article, pick up the March 18 Belvidere Daily Republican.

Buy Viagra Overnight Delivery USA.