Sep 6, 2017

Shimkus: ‘No reason’ not to seek re-election, The News-Gazette

Shimkus: ‘No reason’ not to seek re-election, The News-Gazette
Tue, 08/08/2017 – 7:00am | Tom Kacich

GEORGETOWN — U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, who once pledged to term-limit himself to no more than six terms in office, said Monday night he will run for a 12th term in 2018.

“There’s no expectation that I’m not going to run,” the Collinsville Republican said Monday night after appearing with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue at the Georgetown Fair. “I’m not announcing it formally here, but there’s no reason why I wouldn’t.

“We’ve had a very good legislative year personally, with bills about brownfields and the safe drinking water act, ozone, and I’m trying to get the nuclear waste bill done. I’ve got enough on my plate to make it very interesting,” said Shimkus.

Shimkus’ nuclear-waste bill would revive a long-dormant proposal to store wastes from nuclear power plants at a single repository at Yucca Mountain, Nev. Nuclear waste now is stored on-site at the nation’s nuclear plants, and the nuclear power industry has pushed for years to establish a federal waste dump.

“I’m in a great position now where I can really move legislation. I’ve been fighting this battle for 20 years,” he said of the Nevada nuclear waste plan. “Why would I walk away now when I’m so close to having success?”

The House Energy and Commerce Committee, of which Shimkus is a ranking member, approved his nuclear waste bill, 49-4.

“In an era when people think things aren’t getting done, that’s something that had eluded us for a long time,” Shimkus said.

Shimkus accompanied Perdue to three stops around Illinois on Monday, where they talked about the next Farm Bill, and he heard from farmers about trade, regulation and other concerns. Perdue said his tour of Illinois was part of a trip through five Midwestern states.

“It’s the heartbeat and the backbone of American prosperity, and the good news is we’ve got a president from New York City who gets that,” Perdue said. “My commitment to the farmers of America is, you do what you do best: You grow it, and we’re gonna sell it.”

Perdue was awarded an inscribed director’s chair and a lifetime pass to the Georgetown Fair.

Shimkus said that with the Trump administration opening more federal lands in western states to coal mining, Illinois’ coal industry may be as strong as it’s going to be.

“All I know is that the war on coal is over,” he said. “I don’t think you’re going to see the coal mining as it was in the ’60s or ’70s. But we’re producing more coal this year than last year, and it will probably stabilize the market for the short term.

“It means that the rest of our coal mines won’t close down.”

Three Democrats in the huge 15th Congressional District have created campaign committees to challenge Shimkus in the overwhelmingly Republican area.

Shimkus, the most senior member of Illinois’ congressional delegation, also said he hasn’t heard whether the Trump administration is close to announcing a new U.S. attorney for the Central District of Illinois.