February 02, 2023

Salvi’s views on renewable fuels, trade, regulations

LEXINGTON, Ill. — The senatorial candidates participated in a question-and-answer session after their opening statements at the recent Illinois Agricultural Legislative Roundtable forum.

The questions were provided by those in the audience.

Here are Republican candidate Kathy Salvi’s replies to the questions read by Richard Guebert Jr., Illinois Farm Bureau president.

There is a lot of concern over the future of renewable fuels such as biodiesel and ethanol. What will you do to carve out a place for those fuels in the future?

Salvi: I have never held elective office yet, but everything I have done I believe in this theory of if you get good information in you’re going to get better results out. So, where will I go for my advice on where we know and what? We have to have a broad, big-picture approach to our biodiesel, biofuels and renewables. We need to look at what we’re doing know in order to prepare for the future.

I think in too many areas, there are too many quick fixes, and too many elected officials will go for a quick fix. One thing that I know is that in all of my adult life I’ve learned a lot. So, to the biofuels, the liquid fuels, who am I going to listen to? You, the (Illinois Corn) gentlemen and ladies in the green shirts, you’re the ones who know best what the policies for the future are.

This is the first generation of people who do not believe our children and our grandchildren’s future will be as good as it is today. So, I’m willing to make some tough choices, but I won’t be doing them without you backing me and behind me.

I’m going to be burning up your phone lines if you give them to me so we can see that we prepared the right soil for tomorrow’s harvest and that is good legislation and good policy.

The federal $1 per gallon blenders’ credit for biodiesel was extended for two years, but transitions away and it puts the biodiesel industry at risk. Do you support a long-term extension of the blenders’ credits?

Salvi: I support a free market that allows our products to be exported and developed and I will be taking your advice on that. If that’s exactly what your lobby tells me to vote on, I will be your voice in Illinois for that legislation.

I also like to be a little proactive. We should not be playing defense on our Illinois ag policy. Neither of our senators sits on the ag committee. I think we need to have a little stronger voice in Washington, so we don’t just play catch-up, but we can be a little proactive on what will help serve Illinois agriculture.

What role will you play in getting more federal dollars for new 1,200-foot locks and dams on the upper Mississippi and Illinois rivers?

Salvi: I recently learned that the $800 million bill that came through during the Obama years didn’t go to the purpose that it was intended. Instead, it was divvied up by different congressional districts so they could spend it in a way that they felt fit, and I feel that’s a deficient voice for agriculture.

I want to be your senator on agriculture, and if I make that my priority or if your senator makes it their priority, things will get done. Ninety-year-old locks and dams just don’t seem like a good idea to get our goods both in and down river.

I believe Senator (Chuck) Grassley has been very effective in getting two of the locks and dams on the Iowa side of the river overhauled and I would like to see that same effort being put toward our effort here.

What will you do to improve trade talks to keep commodities moving and to have trade agreements with other countries and they fulfill the commitments that they’ve signed in trade agreements?

Salvi: Do you ever hear the phrase a squeaky wheel gets the oil? Well, let me be your squeaky wheel. I believe that the import tariff on fertilizers such as potash and phosphorous should be removed.

I have a daughter who worked in the West Wing in the prior administration and Dwayne Anderson in Henry County had my cell and he would text me, “Kathy, this is a disaster, you’ve got to get this to the president.” I took his text, copied it over, gave it to my daughter and she said, “It’s in the Oval right now.”

We need to have a working senator. Somebody who’s got their ear to the ground of what’s really going on, how our farms are being over-regulated, our businesses are being stranglehold.

I’m a less-government, lower-tax, common-sense conservative. Watch how I’m running my campaign. It’s a very lean operation because if I’m going to be fiscally conservative, I better show it and that’s how I’ve run my business.

I want to do that on behalf of all of us because there’s nobody who has a more vested interest in the soil and the beauty of Illinois than all of you sitting here.

What do I expect to do if we have a troublesome congressional delegation, maybe in Illinois or another state? I’ll get coffee and bagels and I’ll meet them at their congressional door before they even open up and we’ll sit down and we’ll develop relationships.

It won’t matter if they’re on the other side of the aisle because what we are all starving for is somebody who is not a divider, somebody who stands up to principle, but is able to look at all sides of the issue and do what’s best for the people of Illinois. I’m not a blame-thrower.

What would you do to lessen the impact of over-regulations, particularly when it comes to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Waters of the U.S. and the Internal Revenue Service?

Salvi: As to the Waters of the U.S., I think we have a case coming to the Supreme Court to expand the definition of what is a water. I was speaking to a group of farmers in Robinson, Illinois, they’re like, “It’s just insanity.” It was a very rainy day and there were large areas of water that hadn’t run off.

I said to expand the definition of a field that can be EPA regulated to that particular farm parcel puts a vice over that farmer’s ability run their business.

I’m hopeful that we’ll have a favorable decision on the Waters of the U.S. We’re over-regulated in a lot of our business and the frightening thing for me and most Americans, most Illinoisans is new IRS officials. Are you kidding?

Let us just live. Let us just run our families and our homes without the Big Brother telling us how to do it. I will apply every single bit of my effort to make that happen in the U.S. Senate.

Going back to renewable fuels and renewable energy standards, in your role as a senator and the push for renewable energy standards such as wind and solar, what position would you take in renewable energy standards as they’re being set by Congress or the U.S. Senate?

Salvi: I’m a big fan of developing our renewables. As to wind farms, wind turbines and solar, I believe we need to act responsibly to protect some of our best farmland in Illinois. Take, for example, the 25-year period with one wind turbine, it may turn a profit of about $250,000. It has a life I’m told of about 25 years, and it takes about $250,000 to disassemble one aged obsolete wind turbine. This is a net-zero gain.

So, based upon the productivity of the land long-term, it doesn’t make sense. Many times, I’ve learned that absentee landlords are the ones to submit.

What we incentivize in our federal government will drive our economy and we need some common sense. It’s sorely needed.

I hope to bring common-sense leadership to the U.S. Senate so that we can make sure our best farmland here in Illinois is preserved for its purpose.