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Vote 2012 Preview: 18th Congressional District
The 18th Congressional District stretches from Quincy to Mt. Pulaski and Pawnee to Broadmoor. Democrats drew the new boundaries to exclude most of the cities of Peoria and Springfield. The next congressman will represent many new constituents.
Democrat Steve Waterworth is a retired master sergeant in the Illinois Air National Guard.
"I enjoy serving," he said. "That's what it's all about to me. Serving people in my area."
That's why the Easton resident is challenging Republican Aaron Schock for the chance to represent Illinois' 18th District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
"I think the wealth in this country should be spread out among all Americans, and not just concentrated in the hands of the few," Waterworth said.
Schock is seeking his third term in Congress. The Peoria native serves on the House Ways and Means committee--in charge of writing taxes.
"My goal would be to push back on those regulations and to keep the tax rates competitive so people can get jobs and go to work." he said.
Schock supports simplifying the tax code and getting rid of most deductions.
"If you know that only 25 cents of your dollar is going to be taxed, then you can invest more freely because you're not spending time looking for the favored investment or the favored purchase or this kind of company to invest in versus that company," Schock said.
Waterworth said putting people back to work will require looking beyond the borders of the U.S. He points to the country's multi-billion dollar trade deficits with China and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC.
"That represents jobs," Waterworth said. "We need to work on that. Energy independence creates jobs in America: wind turbines, grain ethanol, cellulosic ethanol. We use that wealth we're losing to China and OPECs to create jobs."
Schock agreed on energy independence, but has a different idea on how to achieve it.
"We need to radically increase the number of drilling rigs offshore as well as onshore to reduce our trade deficit on oil," Schock said. "We need more natural gas exploration."
The two candidates agree change is needed on entitlements.
"I've been part of a majority in the House that's laid forward a program to fix Social Security and Medicare and make them solvent," Schock said.
For Waterworth, it all comes back to the trade deficit.
"I look at things from a macro point of view," Waterworth said. "If you solve the big problem, all the little things will take care of themselves."
Waterworth supports the Affordable Care Act, while Schock is committed to repealing it.
This race will appear on the ballot for all residents of the 18th Congressional District. Enter your information here to find out if you'll be voting on the race.
Watch the raw interview with Aaron Schock
Watch the raw interview with Steve Waterworth