'It's a legacy': Former Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger donates to Pekin's Dirksen Center

In this March 6, 2019, file photo, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., speaks to the media at the White House in Washington.
In this March 6, 2019, file photo, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., speaks to the media at the White House in Washington.

Former U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger announced this week he has donated physical and digital papers and artifacts from his 12 years of service in the U.S. House of Representatives to the Dirksen Congressional Center in Pekin.

“Growing up in Illinois, I learned at a young age the legacy of Everett Dirksen. It’s a legacy that helped guide me during my 12 years in Congress to selflessly serve my constituency and always put the interest of my district before my political interests,” Kinzinger said in a news release. "I could not think of a better institution to partner with in donating my Congressional Papers from my time in Congress than the Dirksen Congressional Center.

"Now more than ever, America needs a transparent understanding of Congress. The Dirksen Congressional Center is a leader in its mission to educate the public on the inner workings of Congress and I’m proud to be a part of furthering that mission.”

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While in Congress, the 44-year-old from Channahon represented the 16th District, which includes all or parts of Bureau, LaSalle, Putnam and Stark counties. He began his career in public service at the age of 20. While still a student at Illinois State University, he won election to the McLean County Board in 1998. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010 and served for six terms before deciding not to seek reelection in 2022.

Kinzinger now is a senior political commentator at CNN and operates the Country First Political Action Committee.

"From growing up in central Illinois to becoming one of the youngest members of the McLean County Board to his dozen years in the House, Congressman Kinzinger has reflected the values of central Illinois, including bipartisanship and independence," Dirksen Congressional Center executive director Tiffany White said in a release. "We appreciate the privilege of cataloguing and maintaining his papers alongside those of other public servants featured in our collection who demonstrated the same values over nine decades."

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White noted that Kinzinger became a prominent figure in the House of Representatives due to his service on the select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol in Washington, D.C. She believes his complete papers will provide insight into the policies Kinzinger pursued, on issues ranging from national defense and veterans to commerce and energy.

"We know these papers will have enormous interest among scholars studying history and government as well as from journalists writing about current events," White added.

With the donation of the Kinzinger Collection, the archives at the Dirksen Center now have congressional records for members from Illinois dating to 1933.

This article originally appeared on Pekin Daily Times: Adam Kinzinger donates congressional papers to Dirksen Center