LEXINGTON, Ill. — Republican Kathy Salvi told a large group of farmers she would be a “citizen senator and will work tirelessly, efficiently and effectively to represent agriculture.”
Salvi, a first-time candidate from Mundelein, is challenging incumbent Democrat U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth and presented her platform during the recent Illinois Agricultural Legislative Roundtable candidate forum.
Salvi and Duckworth spoke separately at the Illinois Farm Bureau-hosted event at the Schuler Farm.
“I am a coach, a teacher, a businesswoman, a lawyer, a wife, a mother and a grandma, and I’m seriously concerned with the direction of this country,” Salvi opened.
The candidate said if she receives an ag-related legislative bill late at night she will be calling farmer and farm leaders to ask them about the bill’s contents.
“I don’t think it’s good politics and good policy when our congresspeople get a 770-page bill and a few hours to read it and then debate it and vote on it. I just think there’s something a little off about that, and I plan to make a difference out there,” she said.
“The farmer is the best conservator of their land. My goal is to become a go-to person in the Senate on behalf of agribusiness.”
Salvi commended IFB and its president, Richard Guebert Jr., for sending its action request urging a no vote on the Inflation Reduction Act.
“It is projected to have a negative effect on small business and workers and families in Illinois. For one thing, there is absolutely no accountability in the bill. Sen. Duckworth supported the Inflation Reduction Act,” she said.
“This bill, among other things, calls for 87,000 IRS agents and this will principally come after small business. Twenty-five percent of the new taxes expected in this bill will come from those earning $75,000 or less. Fifty percent of the new taxes in this bill will come from those earning between $75,000 and $200,000 a year.
“This hits the middle-income family, and many two income families. It is a tax on productivity, a tax on people who work, a tax the middle-class family and a tax on small business. I would have voted no had this bill come before me. I would have been the 51st vote in the U.S. Senate opposing this bill.”
Salvi supports Illinois’ current Livestock Management Facilities Act regulations. Unlike her opponent, Salvi said, she does not support “a patchwork quilt of regulations” such as Proposition 12 in California which defines the minimum amount of space that farmers can give to cows, pigs and chickens that are held in confinement.
While on the campaign trail, Salvi has heard how input costs have impacted farmers’ bottom lines.
“This season it will cost $1,100 per ton for anhydrous ammonia, whereas only two years ago it was $400 per ton. Seed corn and seed beans are nearly 20% to 30% higher costs that we’re facing,” she said.
“These higher costs have not even found their way to market. To correct this as U.S. senator, I will push for a comprehensive, all-of-the-above energy policy that will drive our economy, and this is sorely needed.
“We should not only strengthen our domestic oil, clean coal, natural gas and expand our nuclear energy possibility, but also, and very important to Illinois industry, develop biodiesel and ethanol that will grow Illinois.
“If the single-party leadership that we’ve had in Illinois, 26 years under Senator Durbin and six years under Duckworth was working for us, we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in today.
“The issues we face as a state aren’t Republican issues, Democrat issues. Every person of good will is suffering. I would suggest it’s because of leftist policies out of Washington that are driving this agenda and we’re feeling it.”
Salvi went on to give her policy positions, starting with biodiesel and ethanol development.
“This is what we grow in Illinois and we’re in the Corn Belt, but look at what prices do, they fluctuate. We need to have policies that are embraced that won’t change from administration to administration, and I think the balance I can bring to the U.S. Senate will help moderate the leftist policies that are there,” she said.
Salvi noted concern over the environmental justice bank that she says her opponent supports.
“Look at what’s happening to the farms in the Netherlands. One-third of the farmers there are being squeezed out of the practice that they’ve had for generations, and this is anticipated in Canada. I suggest that this is a danger for us in the future,” Salvi said.
She said the Inflation Reduction Act recently passed includes a 14.5% tax on imported oil.
Salvi added the Biden administration and Duckworth “have been at war on fossil fuels.”
“On account of this, we have to rely for our oil, which we were independent domestically, now from foreign countries, where the president is begging for oil. And where are we looking for oil? Rogue nations such as Russia, Venezuela, Iraq and Iran,” she said.
“This is not only just bad policy for Illinois, it’s bad for America, and it really hurts us with our national security.”
Salvi also was critical of clean energy bill passed by the Illinois Legislature last year.
“At that time, we were a 40% exporter of our Illinois energy. Since that time, we have closed two coal-burning plants and we have ratcheted back two of our nuclear plants. We’re now a 40% energy import state,” she said.
“Illinois farms depend on energy, especially at production time. Electricity is non-negotiable. It’s an imperative and rolling blackouts are unacceptable to successful farming practice.”
Salvi supports eliminating the inheritance tax and referenced a conversation she had with a Clinton County farmer.
“He said all of his livelihood is in his farm and in his equipment, equipment that he can’t even find the parts to today, but he takes such care of it. He said, ‘I’m a simple man. I have to have an accountant, a lawyer and a financial adviser to help me weave through how I can best pass a long this legacy to my children,’” Salvi said.
“By implementing policies that not only keep the current exemption in place, but also index them for inflation, this is what we need. This is what I will fight for.
“Moreover, we need to get the Illinois inheritance taxes to come along with the rest of our states around us. We’re behind the eight ball.”
On the healthcare front, she opposes a single payer system “that removes competition, raises the cost of health care and pits a government bureaucrat between the doctor and his or her patient.”
“This has been a disaster wherever it’s been applied,” she said.