It came as no surprise to me, and probably no one else, when U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger announced he would not seek re-election next year.
First elected in 2010, Kinzinger was known as a conservative member of Congress, a protégé of former U.S. Sen. John McCain and his future seemed bright.
That was until former President Donald Trump came along.
Kinzinger, who voted for Trump and the Trump’s agenda, earned the ire of many Republicans when he openly questioned the attempt to block the legitimate election of current President Joe Biden, and the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Kinzinger rightly called that event a coup attempt.
Like many – I would say most – Americans, Kinzinger said he felt a “profound sadness” as the violent and anti-Democratic events took place on Jan. 6.
As I said at the time, I believe that Kinzinger reacted in a way someone who loves this country would react. In a column on Feb. 1, I wrote: “Kinzinger passed the test that mattered when it came to the events of Jan. 6 and the aftermath. He chose country over party. He chose to do what he felt was the right thing. He did not apologize for it, and he did not ask for forgiveness. He did what he felt was his Constitutional duty.”
I said even then that he put his own political future at risk by doing so, and that became ever more apparent, especially when he joined the commission looking into the horrific events of Jan. 6. Kinzinger wants to get to the truth while many don’t want the truth known.
So, at just 43 years old, Kinzinger has decided to not run again. That decision was made even easier for him when the Illinois Legislature recently changed his district and put him in with another Republican incumbent, Darin LaHood.
Here is a portion of what Kinzinger said in his announcement:
“America is facing an incredibly perilous time. I have always been optimistic, looking to our history to show how we would overcome any obstacle. In bad moments, someone has always stepped up to lead. Government for, of, and by the people always prevails. Right now, that government is the problem. And few have risen to do anything about it, because in this day to prevail or survive you must belong to a tribe.
“I’ve witnessed how division is so heavily rooted in this country. There’s little to no desire to bridge our differences, and unity is no longer a word we use. It has also become increasingly obvious that in order to break the narrative, I cannot focus on both a re-election to Congress and a broader fight nationwide.
“As a country, we need to remember who we really are, what we’ve achieved in our darker days and why we’ve always fought for a brighter future. I know I’m not alone—there are many Americans desperately searching for a better way. They want solutions, not more problems. They want action, not extremism. They want light, not darkness. And the sooner we do it, the better it will be for the land that we love. Now is the time to put Country First.”
Strong words, and words that I believe put Kinzinger on the right side of history.
He said that this is the beginning of his political future, and as Kinzinger has shown himself to be a man of his word, I will take him at that.
No matter which side of the political fence we fall on, we need people like Adam Kinzinger. We need people who will speak truth to power and who put country above party.