Meet David Palmer, 13th Congressional District candidate for Illinois

·5 min read
David Palmer
David Palmer

Editor's note: Early voting for the June 28 primary starts May 19. The State Journal-Register asked some candidates in contested races to answer questions related to the office they seek. 

Professional background: Currently, I run my own small business, but I have a diverse, well rounded working background. My first job out of college was professional basketball, I was able to play in many countries around the world, helping me establish a well rounded and diverse world view. Upon retiring from basketball I started working at the Boys and Girls Club in Champaign. I started out as a volunteer and quickly rose to Director of Teens, my time at the Boys and Girls Club began my involvement in my community and in the those 4 years the growth I was able to be apart of was honestly life changing. It also exposed the downside of youth development and the need for higher pay. I was at a crossroads in my life, my now wife and I were engaged, we found out she was pregnant and we were starting the search for a new home and it became evident that my current career couldn’t support us. I then took a job as a retirement planning advisor and found a career where I was able to help families still and support my own. It also gave me a different perspective and population of people to work with. The Boys and Girls Club provided almost exclusively inner city African American families to work with, while my time at Country Trust Bank which is owned and operated by the Country Financial and the Illinois Farm Bureau was almost exclusively a white rural population. Often people think I would have no similarities in the two jobs and more importantly no similarities from the people I worked with but it was actually the opposite. When I spoke to families at the Boys and Girls Club or Illinois Farm Bureau the same issues came up, access to high quality healthcare on a tight budget, making sure that programs that are put in place to help working families are there when they need them. Programs like social security and the child tax care credit. Also, things like broadband and food deserts. Many think these problems are isolated to rural or urban communities but the reality is kids in Bunker Hill have just as hard a time logging on for their remote learning as kids in East St. Louis and this is a problem that must be addressed immediately.

More: Newcomers battle over open seat in Illinois' 13th Congressional District

Educational background: BA from University of Iowa and also played basketball for the University of Iowa

Family background: Married with 2 children. My wife is Chelsea, born and raised in Central Illinois. David II, named after his grandfather is 4 and Quinci Rose is 16 months old. My parents are David and Sharon and I have a sister named Danielle. Chelsea’s parents are John and Candy Rollins and she has 2 sisters, Cristy and Jamie.

Agriculture is one of downstate Illinois' biggest industries. What key changes would you seek in federal ag policy to benefit Illinois farmers?

First and foremost I would make sure the infrastructure money was deployed in rural areas quickly and efficiently. We often hear about the trade policies that harm farmers but lack of infrastructure is also a key problem. Farmers have to move large amounts of product all over the country and world, they understand this and are well prepared for it. What they are not prepared for however is how bad the infrastructure is that supports this transportation. Bad roads and bridges means increased gas prices because of poor mileage, bad lock and dam systems means that instead of making one trip by barge or boat, now you must make two. This may not seem like a huge deal but taking away these margins have hurt farms and family farms especially, plus the quicker we deploy the money means more high quality jobs for residents in the area.

Toxic political polarization has permeated the landscape. How will you work to heal the divide?

Partisanship is in fact higher and more prevalent than it has ever been which has closed the door on most opportunities to work across the aisle on meaningful legislation. This is typically because most people elected or appointed to these positions go into them with baggage and an agenda that doesn’t revolve around the people but their party. I am a Democrat and I love my party, but it does not and will NEVER be more important or more top of mind than the people of this district. We have to stop the recycling of bureaucrats looking to advance their careers on the backs of working class people and elect working class people.

In 2020, a record 45,222 people died from gun injuries in the U.S. including suicide and murder, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control. What, if anything, should be done to control guns?

Illinois has good strong, gun laws and as a FOID card holder and gun owner myself I appreciate that. The problem for states like Illinois are our neighboring states. If we look at the areas of our state with the highest rates of violent crime, areas like Chicago and East St. Louis are being flooded with illegal guns from their border states. We must enact federal legislation that provides national guidelines to slow down the pace they are brought here. Things like closing the gun show loophole and the boyfriend loophole, as well as requiring a mental health checks can go a long way towards slowing down the rates at which we experience gun violence.

Contact Andrew Adams: aadams1@gannett.com; (312)-291-1417; twitter.com/drewjayadams.

This article originally appeared on State Journal-Register: Illinois primary election: David Palmer, 13th Congressional District