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Local News

Kinzinger would consider Air Force secretary post

‘New-generation leadership would be great for it’

If President Donald Trump were to want U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger as Air Force secretary, the congressman said he would “certainly strongly consider it.”

Kinzinger, an Air Force veteran and lieutenant colonel with the Wisconsin Air National Guard, said on a Fox News program Saturday he enjoys his job, but he would be honored to have Trump call his name. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson will resign May 31.

“The Air Force is going through a lot of transition,” Kinzinger, R-Channahon, said on the program when he was asked about the rumor he may be considered for the post. “I think new-generation leadership would be great for it; as a military member myself, I understand why there’s a retention issue on pilots and stuff.”

Kinzinger has gained attention for his recent deployment to Arizona with the Wisconsin Air National Guard along the border with Mexico.

He said he agrees with the president’s decision to send more National Guard troops to the border, noting they help the Border Patrol with logistical matters. He said the U.S.-Mexican border is reporting its highest number of crossings.

Kinzinger supports building a wall as a boundary because, he said, it will make it easier for the Border Patrol to focus on smaller areas where drug cartels smuggle drugs into the U.S. He also supports reworking laws for asylum seekers.

“It’s a massive crisis,” he said.

Kinzinger endorsed Trump during a meeting with editors from Shaw Media newspapers before the 2016 presidential election, but he’s also been critical of the president’s Twitter comments. Additionally, Kinzinger was critical of colleagues during the federal shutdown.

In December, the 40-year-old Kinzinger was one of the Republicans mentioned by colleagues as a potential retiree. He told the New York Times: “I fully intend to run again,” but conceded he takes little pleasure in being asked to account for “every tweet, every comment” the president makes. He told The Times in Ottawa he always likes to take some time to think about reelection as the filing date gets closer.

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