I’m ready to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make a difference for my constituents in Illinois and the nation as a whole.  There are two principles I urge my colleagues to adopt: Our national security and the future of our economy is dependent on achieving energy independence; and lower taxes have created record economic growth.

Tax cuts played a key role in the statistics released by the Administration today.  Job creation and wages are up, and unemployment is down.  I believe taxpayers’ money belongs to them, not to the government.  When you allow for people to keep more of their own money, you free up investment and hiring, and raise take-home pay for working families.

I urge the new majority to look at the past and continuing economic momentum as a lesson of the past to apply to its plans for the future, and keep the tax cuts in place.

We are also obligated to enact measures that ensure the safety and security of our constituents.  While this often refers to counter-terrorism measures, I believe it should also be considered in the context of energy security. I believe we need to replace imported oil with homegrown biofuels.  I advocate a national energy Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), so that 25 percent of the nation’s energy be generated by renewable sources by the year 2025.

The energy bill of 2005 was a good start in reducing our dependence on foreign, non-renewable sources of energy, but we clearly can and should do more.

The energy bill is helping create a boom in production of ethanol made from corn.  We’re currently on track to use 7.5 billion gallons of ethanol by 2012.  The anticipation of that demand has meant substantial investment and job creation in our district through new ethanol plants and higher prices for farmers.