13th District Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski says her first month in office has been an effort to seek bipartisanship in the Republican-led new Congress.
The new 13th District includes Champaign-Urbana, Decatur, Springfield and a piece of the Metro East suburbs. The Springfield-based Democrat says she’s ready to get to work in her two major committee assignments: “I got appointed to the House Agriculture Committee, and I’m awaiting to find out my sub-committee assignments; but more exciting I’m going to be a part of negotiating the first farm bill in the last 5 years. I do think that even though we are a divided Congress very narrowly, the farm bill is the place where we really should be able to come together to get some things done for family farmers, for communities that are going to benefit from a strong farm bill throughout the 13th Congressional District. I’m really excited to get to find out what subcommittees I’m on. The second committee that I’m on is the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. I just got selected to be on the Health subcommittee. I’m very interested in working on things that support behavioral health for our veterans and making sure they have access to the healthcare that they deserve and that we owe them.”
Budzinski will be on the House Agriculture Committee with 15th District Illinois Republican Congresswoman Mary Miller. Budzinski says she spent much of her first week in Congress talking to Republican members in hopes of building bipartisan agreements on policy issues: “When I came out the first week for new member orientation, I made it a point to reach out to all of the Congressional delegation around me. I did sit down with Congresswoman Miller. I also sat down with Congressman Mike Bost. He is the chair of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee now. I also sat down with Congresswoman Cori Bush who represents St. Louis. Congresswoman Miller is on the House Agriculture Committee and we had a very nice conversation in my first week. We both agreed that maybe agriculture is the place where we can work together, and I look for those opportunities to work across the party aisle to get those things done on those issues where we can agree. I believe that things with issues surrounding agriculture and infrastructure are those sets of issues. Serving on the House Ag Committee with the Congresswoman, I hope we can find those issues where we can pull in the same direction for families in Central and Southern Illinois.”
Budzinski says she did speak with and hear concerns from outgoing members of Congress Rodney Davis and Cheri Bustos who had previously served lengthy tenures on the House Ag Committee. She says that she plans on helping craft the crop insurance and protection policies into the new farm bill. She says she also plans on joining the House Biofuels caucus to help promote Illinois’ biofuel production.
Budzinski says she’s still in the process of setting up her constituent offices throughout the district, but looks forward of being back home in the district on Thursday when the House adjourns so she can finish setting up constituent services and hear concerns from within the district to take them back to Washington.
More of Budzinski’s Interview with Ben Cox can be found here.