WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Helping Urban Lawmakers Understand the Rural Landscape

Feb 1, 2018

Congressman Darin LaHood (R-IL) said he is trying to educate his urban counterparts about rural issues ahead of a vote on the next Farm Bill.

LaHood represents a largely rural district in central and western Illinois where agriculture is the top industry. He said fewer and fewer members of Congress come from such areas.

“So you find yourself educating them. You know, explaining to them importance of crop insurance and we’re going to continue to do that until we get the bill passed,” LaHood told reporters before meeting with members of the Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Crop insurance has worked very well for our farmers. Crop insurance benefits farmers in McDonough County and all across our district.”

LaHood called crop insurance “a safety net” for farmers and said the program is his biggest concern as Congress writes a new Farm Bill.  He said crop insurance has been targeted in the past by lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, which he believes has strengthened the program.

“It is a program that has been over the years refined (and) reformed. It’s a program that I think is very effective, efficient, and accountable.”

Congressman Darin LaHood (front right) addresses members of the Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce at Macomb City Hall.
Credit Rich Egger

New Committee Assignment

LaHood was appointed last month to the House Ways and Means Committee.  He said he is “thrilled” with the new assignment.

LaHood considers it a significant committee because it deals with taxation, trade, healthcare, and many entitlement programs.

“Those are important issues to the American people. They’re important to our seniors. They’re important to every facet of our economic system,” he said.

LaHood said trade is one of the first issues he will focus on as part of the committee.  He said he can be a voice for NAFTA and other trade agreements that he said benefit agriculture.

Ways and Means is the oldest committee in Congress.