Q+A with Matthew Woodmancy, Democrat for Illinois’ 18th District
Our newest Q+A is with another political newcomer, a young hopeful named Matthew Woodmancy running in the sprawling rural 18th district of Illinois. A restaurant assistant manager, he grew up in Perkin and at only 27 years old, hopes to be one of the youngest members of Congress.
To visit his website, click here
The 18th district hooks from the middle of the state along the Missouri (and, for a bit, Iowa) border and curves inward, containing many of the suburbs of Bloomington, Springfield and Peoria. To see a map, click here
The current incumbent is Aaron Schock and the Democratic primary opponent is Steve Waterworth, who was the nominee in 2004 and 2006.
And with that intro, here is the Q+A with Mr. Woodmancy.
1. Why do you want to be the representative of the 18th District of Illinois?
I have lived in Central Illinois and have personally witnessed the inequities of the Republican practices where corporations are given precedence over people. Aaron Schock’s current practice of giving lip service to the district while supporting tax breaks for Caterpillar, State Farm, and other corporations at the expense of the citizens and worker of our district is unacceptable. We need a congressman who will work with citizens to create sustainable jobs and opportunities for advancement in education, participation in the community, and a return to citizen government.
2. The corporate headquarters of State Farm Insurance is in Bloomington, part of which is in the 18th district. What is the role of government in relation to the insurance industry?
State Farm is a successful business that provides jobs and services the community needs. The role of government should be to provide reasonable regulation to the industry to insure a meltdown in the economy does not reoccur. Government should also guide fair labor practices for the employees of all such companies, and support fair negotiations between labor and management.
3. The district is sprawling and largely rural in the center of Illinois. What needs to be done to stimulate economic growth in rural areas such as those in the district?
As President Obama said in the State of the Union Message, our goal should be to attract manufacturing back to the United States by working in conjunction with our local governments, institutions of education, and other entities to attract these manufacturers to the area. By providing reasonable and fair incentives, and supplying a work force capable of meeting the needs of these manufacturers, the district will develop opportunities to grow.
4. You currently work as an assistant restaurant manager. What has the food service industry taught you that you will bring with you to Washington?
Working for Jim has taught me tolerance, patience, and a commitment to excellence in every product we produce. The key to success is doing the right thing and doing it better and better every time. Most of all, the key to success in any business is customer satisfaction, and that includes government. When in office, I intend to remember my customers and make sure their needs are met.
5. You cite Bill Clinton’s autobiography as one of your favorite books. Why did you find it inspiring?
I found it to be a testament to President Clinton’s persistence. He continued to make mistakes, and accepted the blame for his mistakes instead of trying to find a scapegoat. His willingness to accept his own flaws and move forward is a testament to the American Spirit
6. The city of Carthage in the west of the district is famous for being the site of the murder of Joseph Smith, one of the founders of the Mormon religion. What should be done to promote religious tolerance and understanding in an increasingly diverse America?
In the city of Nauvoo, Illinois stands a temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, along with an entire community dedicated not to the shameful act of Joseph Smith’s assassination, but to the education of people about the hardships encountered by their ancestors and their faith. Tolerance and understanding cannot be legislated, but ethical conduct in our society can be. I am against any form of discrimination in this nation, be it against religion, race, ethnic background, sex, or gender identification. We must take a stand that says we will not tolerate discrimination in any form.
7. You graduated from Normal Community High School. How should the federal government change the public school system?
The education system in the United States is in need of a national standard that allows our educators to prepare our students to meet the needs of the present and the future. We must work with the educators to establish a system that not only addresses the needs of every individual student, but also accepts and cherishes the contributions of every group. Most of all, we need to teach acceptance and unity to every student in our country. We can no longer afford the luxury of petty divisions that separate us as hyphenated Americans, but recognize that this nation will never be whole until we are all Americans first, and that only by working together will we return this nation to the glory and prominence it has held in the past.
8. The first state institution caring for patients with mental disabilities was opened in Jacksonville, in the south of the district. What sort of programs should be increased to bring additional help to handicapped Americans?
We must deal with the needs of Americans with Disabilities as an extension of the growing health needs of this nation. For the many Americans who face the challenges of Mental and Emotional conditions, we must turn to the professionals in these areas, listen to their advise, and provide the care needed to help them reintegrate into society. Community support and local government programs will be needed to assist these individuals, and we should be willing as a community to help our brothers and sisters in their time of need. A national health care program is needed to assist the local governments in achieving these goals.
9. What was the last movie you saw in the theater? What was the last book you read?
I went with a friend to see “The Ides of March”, but ended up watching “Paranormal Activity 3”, so I purchased a copy of “The Ides of March” when it became available and greatly enjoyed it. The last book I read was “An Unfinished Life : John F. Kennedy” by Robert D. Falleck.
10. Name three people, historical or contemporary, who have inspired your political values and beliefs.
Abraham Lincoln, for his guidance of this nation during it’s greatest crisis, President Barrack Obama, for his persistence in the face of constant opposition and his unswerving faith in the goodness of the American people, and my grandfather, who’s example of hard work and dedication to family taught me that persistence is the path to accomplishment.