GOP candidates for 14th Congressional seat say spending cuts, oil drilling could ease inflation

Increasing domestic oil production and eliminating cabinet-level federal agencies are among the inflation-busting ideas put forth by Republicans running for Illinois' 14th Congressional District seat.

Five candidates are seeking the post now held by Democrat Lauren Underwood of Naperville. Three of them - Jack Lombardi of Manhattan, James Marter of Oswego and Jaime Milton of Fox River Grove - discussed inflation and other issues in a group online interview with the Daily Herald and Shaw Media. The other two candidates, Scott Gryder of Oswego and Michael Koolidge of Rochelle, didn't participate but shared thoughts via email.

Lombardi, a first-time candidate who owns a digital marketing company, said drilling for oil in the U.S. will solve the economic crisis.

Transporting oil from other countries to the U.S. uses a lot of fuel, which boosts prices and creates pollution, Lombardi said.

Allowing oil companies to drill more here would promote American jobs and American energy independence, Lombardi said.

"Flood the globe with American oil," he said.

Milton, a first-time candidate and former business executive, said the government must cut spending. The constitutionality of "every federal program" needs to be examined, she said.

"It is alarming how many federal programs exist today that are not supported by the U.S. Constitution," she said.

Milton specifically suggested dismantling the U.S. Department of Education to start, saying the federal government shouldn't be mandating curriculum. Its funding should be spent at the state and local levels, she said.

Marter, a software consultant and library trustee, said construction of the Keystone XL pipeline between Canada and the U.S. should resume. He also proposed eliminating legislative earmarks for assorted projects and omnibus spending bills that package smaller appropriation proposals.

Like Milton, Marter supports eliminating the education department He went further by saying the Department of Energy which oversees national energy policy and manages the research and development of nuclear power and nuclear weapons, and the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees public health, "have a lot of things that should go."

"Most of it is waste, fraud and abuse," said Marter, who has run for Congress twice before and for U.S. Senate.

Koolidge, a former conservative radio host making his first run for elected office, blamed the inflation on "out-of-control spending" by Underwood and President Joe Biden.

To counter the problem, he said he will write, sponsor and vote for legislation that lowers taxes, deregulates businesses, encourages oil and gas exploration, cuts government spending and encourages production. He wouldn't cite specifics when asked to elaborate.

Gryder, the Kendall County Board chair, said inflation began after a $2 trillion economic stimulus package was enacted in March 2020 as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Gryder assailed the funds as a partisan proposal "rammed through" by Democrats, but didn't acknowledge it was signed into law by then-President Donald Trump, a Republican.

Gryder said he will fight to end "the Democrat's free money policies" if elected. He also supports making the Republican tax reforms of 2017 permanent.

Redrawn for the 2022 election, the 14th District encompasses parts of Kane, Will, DeKalb, Kendall, LaSalle, Bureau and Putnam counties.

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