U.S. Senator Mark Kirk reiterated Saturday that despite his decision to not make an endorsement for a GOP presidential candidate, suburban voters need to act on his advice to elect more fiscally conservative leaders to office in the coming year.
Kirk made an appearance at a Schaumburg Township Republican Organization meeting at the request of the group to talk primarily about the economy and foreign policy, and to encourage local Republicans to band together to win over President Obama's home state.
"Schaumburg is, and will remain, a key swing township in the state so we're happy to have him," said township committeeman Ryan Higgins before Kirk's 20-minute speech. "We have a lot of new people coming in -- independents and even disaffected or what I would call deficit conscious Democrats that will be with us this cycle and so at these events we're trying to bring those people into the organization and focus on a victory in 2012."
The state's junior senator said one of his biggest concerns is President Obama's spending plans. He suggested decreasing costs by cutting aid to Pakistan because of its support of the Haqquani network, an insurgent group in Afghanistan that has close ties with the Taliban.
"The government of Pakistan gets over a billion dollars of aid from us each year," he explained to the crowd of more than 100 supporters. "It is the government of Pakistan which is protecting and fostering this terrorist organization, which is directly involved in the murder of American servicemen and women and Afghan allies. As your senator … I call for cutting aid to Pakistan."
Kirk said he is in favor of signing free-trade agreements with Colombia and South Korea, which he says will have a positive impact on farmers in the state of Illinois.
However, he is troubled about more taxation for residents of the state.
"I'm particularly worried about the families from the state of Illinois because all the Illinois Democrats who want to raise your taxes in Washington, remember, they also raised your taxes in Springfield by 66 percent and they increased the corporate taxes of Illinois to some of the highest levels of the industrialized world," he said.
While pushing Obama out of office is one of his long-term goals, Kirk, in contrast to members of the tea party, said Republicans need to focus on compromising with their Democratic counterparts.
"I would like a different president and a different economic policy, and you and I will work for that later. But right now, a bipartisan agenda, laid out along the lines that I just described could work, should work and we should move on that."