GOP congressional candidates Davis and Miller compare, contrast views in main battle for new district

Two incumbents are vying for the Republican nomination for a new 15th congressional district seat with Rodney Davis touting his legislative experience and Mary Miller pointing to her endorsement by former President Donald Trump.

The winner of the June 28 primary will face Democrat Paul J. Lange of Quincy, who is running unopposed for his party’s nomination.

Miller, 62, of Oakland has represented the old 15th district in Congress since Jan. 3, 2021. Davis, 52, of Taylorville, has represented the old 13th district in Congress since Jan. 3, 2013. The new 15th district was created by the General Assembly based on the results of the 2020 census. It cuts through the sprawl of central Illinois, but the 13th District pierces its heart, encompassing large parts of Springfield, Decatur, and Champaign.

Davis lives in the 15th district, but Miller lives in the new 12th congressional district. She may be running because part of the new district is in her current district. The new 15th District includes 31% of Miller’s old district, 27% of Davis’s, and 42% of new territory for both candidates.

“You don’t have to zoom in to see it’s a gerrymandered mess,” Davis said. “They just wanted to create as many safe Democratic seats as possible. But it’s a great neighborhood and we plan to be in every part of the neighborhood like we always have and visit every part of it.

“We all know that (Governor JB) Pritzker and corrupt Democrats targeted conservative Republicans,” Miller said. “They created a conservative neighborhood. This district represents more than 70% for President Trump.

Davis spoke about his experience as a lawmaker as one of his strengths. “Experience matters. I have a record of sticking to my principles,” Davis said. “I have experience writing farm bills while representing a district that is heavily reliant on agriculture. I have excellent experience in managing topical issues such as infrastructure.”

Miller emphasized his conservative credentials. “I am a conservative candidate, America First, which President Trump has endorsed. I oppose all efforts to diminish our Second Amendment rights,” she said. “I am a member of the Freedom Caucus. A member of the Border Caucus and the Second Amendment Caucus. It’s just a privilege to represent the people as a conservative.

Candidates had contrasting views on their top legislative priorities.

“I defend the Constitution,” Miller said. “It’s number one. We need policies that will protect our farmers. We need to do something about the Protect Waters of USA Act – it’s nothing but over-regulation.

She also promotes her Safety and Opportunity for Girls Act. “My bill would clarify that nothing in Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 can be construed as giving the Biden administration the power to prohibit schools from maintaining bathrooms, locker rooms, teams gender-segregated sports and academic programs.”

Davis identified the new farm bill as his top priority. “I will participate in the debate as a member of the House Agriculture Committee. This will be my third chance to help draft a farm bill that allows farmers to take risks. I have a great opportunity to make an impact,” Davis said. “We need to empower Illinois farmers to do what they do best, which is feed the world.”

He sponsored the Rural Investment in America Act that would grant greater lending authority to the Small Business Administration to make loans to businesses that manufacture key infrastructure assets in rural industrial parks. Davis said he would provide partial loan forgiveness to cover payroll, permits and other capital costs associated with site development when long-term jobs are created in rural areas.

Davis said increased funding to update locks and dams is another priority.

The candidates also listed what they thought were the three most important issues for their constituents. Davis chose inflation, the border crisis and rising crime. Miller cited Second Amendment rights, energy independence and America First.

“Inflation includes gasoline prices because they are rising at an alarming rate. The cost of buying anything is going up because of the bad policies of Biden and the Democrats,” Davis said. “Gas prices are an issue due to lack of investment in energy exploration.”

Davis said the border crisis is important because that’s where illegal drugs enter the country. “Trump’s ‘Stay in Mexico’ policy needs to be codified in law,” he said. “We also need to fund the completion of the border wall started under the Trump administration.”

Davis also spoke about the increase in crime.

“What we saw in San Francisco with the removal of a liberal prosecutor shows public frustration with prosecutors who coddle criminals,” Davis said. “Biden is not investing in the police.”

Miller emphasized his support for Second Amendment rights. “I would never vote to diminish these rights in any way. I am absolutely against any change. We have laws on the books, but criminals have guns. They commit crimes. We have done everything we could with gun laws. We have cultural issues.

Regarding energy independence, Miller said his family was deeply involved in agriculture as they raised grain and livestock. “I’m a mom in a big family, and that’s a big issue that’s fueling inflation. We need more power generation.

Putting America first is what matters to the people, Miller said. “We went from America First to America Last.”

Miller encouraged people to watch his voting record as a Conservative. “[Former] President Trump, Ted Cruz and other conservatives supported me.

She talked about her scores from the Liberty Score Conservative Review, the American Conservative Union and Heritage Action for America. “I encourage people to look at Rodney Davis’ scores and compare them to my ‘A’ grade.”

Davis said he knew Morgan County because he attended Illinois College for a year before transferring to Millikin University.

“I will never sacrifice my conservative principles. Voters can trust me to return to Washington to fight liberal policies,” Davis said. “I want to win their vote.”

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