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An Interview With John Arrington

Republican Candidate for U.S. Senate Visits Carroll County

By Tom Kocal

Video by Tom Kocal • Produced by Brent Simmons

"I am proud to be a potential candidate to represent the State of Illinois," said John Arrington, Republican candidate for the United States Senate, in an interview Monday, July 6, at the rural Shannon home of Joel McFadden. Arrington and Mark Hansen, Superintendent of the Eastland School District, graduated together from the Western Illinois University doctoral program. It was through Hansen that the opportunity to conduct the interview and introduce the candidate to you was made possible.

"A lot of Illinois residents have a mistrust of the government. I am not a 'professional' politician. I am not an entrenched elective that has made a living off the public trough. I am running because of the power of the people, and to make a common-sense change," Arrington said. "President Reagan used to say that it's all right to change, but make it prudent. It is my intention to bring some trust back to people in Illinois, who have historically developed a lot of mistrust. That is a burden that we all share, and that we can overcome. With good, honest representation, we can bring that trust back to government."

Arrington is a strong advocate of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

"As a conservative Republican candidate, I support our traditional family structure, and our freedom of expression, the freedom to express our faith. Our country was founded upon those principles. This was a high priority of our founding fathers.

"I think we are seeing some things come out of Washington that infringe on our right to express our faith as was intended. I am going to fight for our love of freedom."

The economy is also high on his agenda, as it is with the American people. Arrington wants to ensure that Americans have jobs.

"I am not only pro-business, I am really pro-American. I want to see Americans put back to work. But we have to make some difficult decisions. As fathers, you and I know that we cannot spend our way out of debt. Some of these difficult decisions include cutting back, to bring some daylight to this financial crisis."

Arrington voiced his opposition to the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill, better known as the Cap-and-Trade bill. "This is not a bill that I can support. I don't see it as being a benefit to America. There are a lot of bills that come out of Washington with the intent to help Americans, but the result is very detrimental. The Cap-and-Trade bill is one of them.

"The farming and agriculture industry in Illinois is huge, and in our state and throughout the midwest, we produce some of the safest food in the world. What we want to do is expand our markets, and give our farmers and ranchers more solid footing, a more stable advantage to produce some of the best products in the world, instead of creating an environment where it is a disadvantage to do what they do best."

Support of the Illinois and U.S. Ag Industry will be a major part of his platform in his run for the U.S. Senate.

"Thousands of jobs are created in the farming industry in Illinois," Arrington noted. "A lot of people think of Illinois as 'Chicago, Cook County.' But once you get out of that area, agriculture is obviously a major part of Illinois' economy."

Sustainable energy creation and development of Illinois resources will also be watched carefully by Arrington. Like most other states, Arrington says Illinois is still trying to figure out where they fit in with their sustainable energy plans. He believes Illinois has a strong future in creating new opportunities in the field of energy development.

"The state of the economy is critical. This will be the most difficult thing to address. When you and I face a financial crisis, the first thing we have to do is cut up our credit cards. The government has to do the same thing. We've got to cut that 'credit card' up."

Education is also an area that Arrington sees as needing a change. He says that the states will take the lead on the education agenda, and that it is a long-term investment that we must take in order to better educate our youth.

"I spent 4-years as a high school administrator, and one of my responsibilities was hiring teachers. From that, I now have an incredibly high regard for teachers and what they do. I would like to conduct some forums with some state officials about how we can continue improvements that are needed."

Arrington talked about the changes in the auto industry as a result of government bailouts.

"Sometimes change really intimidates people, and it intimidates organizations. The auto industry is an organization that is in dire need of change. Now having said that, there is always a danger when the government intervenes at the level it has with the auto industry. Some difficult decisions had to be made. The industry has had some difficulty in going with the decision to develop hybrid cars, and to change some of their business practices. Now that the rubber has met the road, they've been forced to make the changes they should have considered 20-30 years ago. I like the changes that have been made, but I don't like the money that we've thrown at them."

Did the government overstep their constitutional boundary with their involvement in private industry?

"It's a very slippery slope that the government went down. If in fact you can throw billions of dollars at the auto and financial industries, who else is going to come with their hand out? We really treaded in some very murky waters in relation to the Constitution, when we began to bail out the auto industry, and then have a stake in the ownership. I am not at all comfortable with that reasoning. I think it was a big mistake."

Arrington holds rural Illinois in high regard. "This is an area that I love. Strong families, people with a strong sense of responsibility. Hard workers. I love that. That's what America was built on, personal responsibility. People taking ownership of their own lives, not waiting for the government or anyone else to make decisions for them. Rural Illinois can show all of America what the American Spirit is all about. It's based in hard work, personal responsibility, taking care of what's yours. We always have to help out, as Christians. That's what we do. But it's always to take care of your own.

"My dad used to tell me, 'Son, money doesn't grow on trees.' In other words, get out there and make something happen. Don't expect anyone else to make decisions for your own life. I'm glad to be out here and see the American Spirit at work in rural America."

Married for 18 years, Arrington is the proud father of 2 daughters and 2 sons. "I trained them like my father trained me. Take responsibility for your behavior. When I was younger, my dad was ill for a while. My mom stepped up and took care of my dad and 5 of my siblings. She asked for no hand-outs. She went out and made something happen. You see that all over America. A lot of women today could make excuses, but they don't. It's not the American Spirit. That's what keeps our country resilient. That's what makes our people resilient."

A relative newcomer to the political scene as a Republican candidate, John Arrington's web site is expected to be on-line this week. Learn more about him at