© 2024 Peoria Public Radio
A joint service of Bradley University and Illinois State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

LaHood Touts Trade Agreements, Opposes GOP Leadership Change

U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood

U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood wants the Biden administration to keep strong international trade agreements in place to benefit central Illinois farmers.

“I remind people all the time: agriculture is the number one industry in the state of Illinois. But you have to have markets, you have to have customers around the world,” said LaHood, a Peoria Republican who represents Illinois’ 18th District.

“You have to have good trade agreements, and you have to have customers in marketplaces around the world that help create jobs and opportunities here in Peoria and central Illinois.”

LaHood said implementation of the phase one trade pact with China and the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) has helped drive a turnaround, with commodity prices up significantly over a year ago as the economy looks to recover from COVID-19.

“You look at the prices of corn and soybeans, agribusiness is doing really well right now and that's good for central Illinois,” he said. “But again, you've got to have good trade agreements.”

LaHood said the Democratic Biden administration should welcome a bipartisan approach in crafting trade agreements, adding he believes the USMCA and China pact can be used as templates for ongoing negotiations with the United Kingdom, India, Brazil, Kenya and the European Union.

LaHood wants to see the Trade Promotion Authority reauthorized before it expires in July. The authority allows the president to negotiate trade agreements ahead of Congressional approval.

GOP leadership

LaHood said potentially removing U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, from her GOP leadership role misplaces the party's focus.

“I think it's a distraction,” said LaHood. “We just had our conference with Republicans; we're united and going into the next election.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, has signaled support for calls to remove Cheney from her position as GOP Conference chair after she voted to impeach President Donald Trump and continued her pushback against claims the 2020 election was not legitimate.

“Liz Cheney is an elected member of our leadership. She has different views than others, and I think we have to respect those views,” he said. “She's going to have to go back to Wyoming and get re-elected and go through that process. But I think we were a big enough party to have divergent views.”

LaHood stressed he isn't among those calling for Cheney’s ouster.

“I haven't seen any reason to get rid of her,” he said adamantly, adding Republicans need to be united in their hopes of reclaiming the House majority in the next election.


LaHood said he's disappointed Illinois will have one less representative in the U.S. House after the 2022 election due to the state’s declining population and population growth in other states

“It's frustrating to see Illinois continue to lose population. But in some ways, I'm not surprised by it,” he said, adding he hopes the reduction in representation serves as a wake-up call for elected officials in Springfield to make changes aimed at stemming the exodus.

“The business climate we have in Illinois is not as good as it should be, and when you continue to have high taxes, and public corruption, and budgets that aren't balanced, people tend to leave the state.”

In regard to setting new district boundaries, he said using an independent group to draw new maps would give people more confidence in the process. The state constitution gives the duty to draw the new district boundaries to the state legislature.

Last week, Gov. JB Pritzker said he will veto any “unfair map.”

“I hope that we have a system that is healthy for democracy. I'm a supporter of the fair map system,” said LaHood. “I know Gov. Pritzker said he was for that, and we're going to have to hold him accountable. Voters should be picking their politicians, not politicians picking their voters.”

Contact Joe at jdeacon@ilstu.edu.