EP. 40 - Newly-Elected Rep from Illinois Angles for Farm Issues & Bipartisanship, with Rep-Elect Nikki Budzinski

December 15, 2022

EP. 40 - Newly-Elected Rep from Illinois Angles for Farm Issues & Bipartisanship, with Rep-Elect Nikki Budzinski

Dec 15, 2022

Author: Dusty Weis

With roots in farm country, one Congressional freshman says she wants to find common ground in Washington.

 

When she is sworn in on January 3, 2023, Congresswoman-Elect Nikki Budzinski will be tasked with representing the interests of farmers in a vast swath of the state, all the way from Champaign to Springfield to just north of St. Louis.

 

It’s the heart of corn country, and she knows that agriculture will factor heavily in many of the issues she will have to address in Washington.

 

But Budzinski, a Democrat, also represents an evenly-divided constituency that previously elected a Republican to the seat.

And she recognizes that it’s more important than ever to build bridges, find common ground and strive toward bipartisanship in the Capitol.

 

In this episode, we ask the newly-elected Congresswoman what she sees as the biggest issues that growers face today, how she’s planning to go to bat for America’s farmers, and what it’s like going to a place like Washington as a Congressional freshman.

 

 

Direct Share Link:
 

https://cms.megaphone.fm/channel/ncga?selected=PDM2987758403PDM2987758403

 

TRANSCRIPT:

 

Congresswoman-Elect Nikki Budzinski:

One of the things I heard consistently I think throughout the campaign were people were looking for fresh ideas. I consider myself a bipartisan member-elect, someone that's looking for opportunities to work across the aisle on issues again that support the families and the communities in my district. I very much believe that is the charge that the voters gave me in the 13th Congressional District.

 

Dusty Weis:

Hello, and welcome to The Cobcast, inside the grind with The National Corn Growers Association. This is where leaders, growers, and stakeholders in the corn industry can turn for big-picture conversations about the state of the industry and its future. From the field, to the corn belt, to the DC beltway, we're making sure that the growers who feed America have a say in the issues that are important to them with key leaders who are shaping the future of agriculture. So make sure you're following the show on your favorite podcast app, and sign up for The National Corn Growers Association newsletter at ncga.com.

 

In this episode, we'll meet a newly elected member of Congress from the heart of corn country, Illinois representative-elect Nikki Budzinski. We'll ask her what she sees as the biggest issues that growers face today, how she's planning to go to bat for America's farmers, and what it's like going to a place like Washington as a Congressional freshman. I'm Dusty Weis, along with NCGA vice-president to public policy, Brooke Appleton. Brooke, you're someone who's spent more than 16 years in the intersection between Washington DC and agriculture. Since we're asking the Congresswoman-elect the same question, what do you remember about your freshman experience in DC as a legislative assistant?

 

Brooke Appleton:

Thank you, Dusty, for that question. I definitely do remember. It was actually my first job right out of college was coming to Washington, and it was an internship that turned into a full-time job. But I remember my internship was in the Capitol, actually, so my first day literally walking up into the Capitol building as a fresh-faced 22, 23-year-old from Missouri was quite an experience. And I will say something particularly interesting about a new Congress and that feeling of a fresh start, new members, everyone's moving around all the offices. There's stuff in the hallways. It's busy. It's crazy. It's always a good time and a lot of anticipation in the air about: What is this new Congress going to be? And how's it going to feel? And what's going to get accomplished in the next couple of years? So I have to assume that's kind of what's going on up there right now. And I know folks are getting excited and gearing up, and I know we're preparing, as everyone across town is, on kind of what January 3rd and beyond is going to bring.

 

So it's no secret that Washington can prove challenging at times. Being a member of the House of Representatives is no easy task. You're representing over 750,000 constituents with competing interests and having to raise a lot of dollars to be sure you can hold onto that. It's not a position that many of us envy. And it's not for everyone. But we're so fortunate that there are people who are willing and great leaders who are willing to step up to the plate and make sacrifices to guide this country, so we're joined by one of those willing leaders today. We're so fortunate to have with us Congresswoman-elect Nikki Budzinski from Illinois' 13th Congressional District. This district grows a lot of corn and is especially important to NCGA's efforts in Washington. We're looking forward to hearing from you about your decision to run for office, what you've learned from the campaign experience, and what opportunities and challenges you see as you enter the halls of Congress officially for the first time here in January. So Congresswoman-elect, thanks so much for taking the time to be with us today.

 

Congresswoman-Elect Nikki Budzinski:

It's great to be with you, Brooke, and it's great to be with you too, Dusty. I love the opportunity to be on The Cobcast. It's great to be with all of you. Thank you for having me.

 

Brooke Appleton:

As I mentioned, being a member of Congress is pretty tough and it's a thankless job for sure. Can you kind of take us through your decision-making process as you considered running for Congress, and how you kind of ended up here?

 

Congresswoman-Elect Nikki Budzinski:

Sure. Well, first I want to say it's an incredible honor to get elected to the 13th Congressional District, and representing families throughout Central and Southern Illinois, and also knowing that agriculture is incredibly important to this district. My background though is really in public service. I also worked in the labor movement. A part of my decision to decide to step forward to run to represent this great district was my background really in the labor movement. I talked a lot on the campaign trail about how I'm one of the few Congressional candidates at that time, probably now one of the few member-elects that's been on multiple kill floors. When I worked for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, they represent largely meatpacking workers, also retail workers. So I've really been on the front lines of a lot of really critical issues that are still being debated today, paid sick leave, raising the minimum wage, making sure that there are safe working conditions for working families.

 

It really though, that was my background that's a lot of my passion that I bring to some of the issues that I'd love to work on in Congress, but also, the opportunities I've had to be in public service. I had the opportunity to work as a senior advisor to our governor in Illinois, Governor Pritzker. One of the things I talked a lot about again on the campaign trail, I chaired his broadband advisory council. And one of the things that I thought was really important in that experience was it taught me the importance of working together. The farm bureau was on our broadband advisory council, so were Democratic and Republican legislators. And we came together in the state of Illinois when there was a historic investment in high-speed internet access, this was actually pre-COVID, to make about a $400 million investment in high-speed internet access across the state of Illinois.

 

We came together as a council with different opinions on the topic to put together a strategic vision for what that plan looked like so that we could deliver high-speed internet access to families and small businesses throughout the state of Illinois. That type of experience is also something that I think led me to making this decision to run for public office. I think it's something that we desperately need more of, is coming together, collaboration, finding opportunities to work together on issues that impact all communities and support families and small businesses. And so that collective experience I think working on issues that help working people, but also collaborative efforts like the broadband advisory council. And I'd also just highlight as well, the last position that I had before taking on this challenge of running for Congress was I did serve in the Biden administration. I was the chief of staff for the Office of Management and Budget.

 

And one of the things that I helped to set up when I was there as well was the made in America office. I heard a lot about the struggles with the supply chain, US Steel, ADM, those are important businesses and entities that are located within the 13th Congressional District. Manufacturing is critically important. So having a front-row seat to helping to set that up at the federal level also helped to inspire me to run. So really, I can't point to, Brooke, one in particular thing. It's really kind of my collective experience in my career that led me to make this decision.

 

Dusty Weis:

Well, and if I may, Congresswoman-elect Budzinski, just heap one more potential motivating factor in there, there's something of a youth movement underway in Congress right now. The 117th Congress, which is finishing up its term, was on average the oldest group of representatives out of the last 20 years. The average age of senators in this Congress is about 64. The average age of a House member is 58.3. So as we transition to the 118th Congress, in the House, we saw Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leadership voluntarily step down to pave the way for a new generation of leaders. There are a number of new office holders like you, who are gen Xers or even millennials. And having now run a successful campaign for Congress, what would you say are some of the factors that have contributed to that age disparity in Congress? And was it an uphill battle for you to run against that?

 

Congresswoman-Elect Nikki Budzinski:

Well, I think one of the things I heard consistently I think throughout the campaign were, people were looking for fresh ideas and new approaches to government. I think again, I want to underscore the importance that I think there is in collaboration, finding common ground. I consider myself a bipartisan member-elect, someone that's looking for opportunities to work across the aisle on issues again that support the families and the communities in my district. I very much believe that is the charge that the voters gave me in the 13th Congressional District. They want me to not go to Congress to be a part of the political noise, but to be a part of results and getting things done, and expect that I will work across the aisle and across party ideologies to be able to get those things done. I think one of the things that is exciting is I think that people are looking for a new Congress to reflect the mosaic, I guess if you will, of the American electorate. And I think you've underscored what has happened, Dusty. In the election results, you have gen Xers like myself, but also younger people, the millennials, generation Z. We helped to elect in the Democratic caucus our first African American leader to lead our House caucus with Hakeem Jeffries. So I think there are new approaches, new ideas, new people coming in, and that's good for government. I think that's good for finding new solutions for an ever-changing political world. And so I'm really proud and honored to get to be a part of that.

 

Brooke Appleton:

And you mentioned your campaign experience a few times. And we all know there's no doubt that campaigning is extremely difficult work, learning about issues important to votes that you might not have had direct experience with prior, and constantly moving around in a rather large district to maximize your time and get in front of as many voters as possible. What did you learn from the constituents of the 13th District? And you've mentioned that a little bit about solutions and being bipartisan. But what surprised you the most from your experience on the campaign trail?

 

Congresswoman-Elect Nikki Budzinski:

I think I'd say that consistently, whether I was in Democratic or Republican audiences, that it is people wanting to see me go to Congress to get things done. I will just anecdotally say during my campaign, I was actually stopped by some Republicans. One gentleman that lives in my neighborhood that rides a bike, I see him in the park when I walk my dog, he stopped me to just say, "I'm a Republican. I'm voting for you. You're a Democrat. But I'm voting for you because want to see someone go to Congress to get some things done." And he would acknowledge, he and I would not agree necessarily on all of the same issues. But on some of the fundamentals like infrastructure investments, I think there are some things democracy was something that was underwriting the entire election, believing in good government, not that government is the solution to everything because it's not, but to finding the areas where maybe we can agree and across party line.

 

Another thing, I was really honored on election night. Our former Republican governor, Governor Jim Edgar actually attended my election night party, and I was incredibly honored. I've developed a great relationship with him because of a program he actually started at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign called the Edgar Fellows Program. And the part of that program that really resonates, and the whole point really of the program is collaboration and finding opportunities to work together. It's a fellowship program at the University of Illinois that brings together Republican and Democratic legislative staff to really again find opportunities where we can learn from each other. That overwhelmingly was the message that I really heard that surprised me, and something that I didn't necessarily expect when I was campaigning for Congress, is that even in Democratic audiences or Republican audiences, they're expecting collaboration. I think we were able to make that point successfully during the campaign. And I think it's a learning experience.

 

I spend a lot of time listening to voters and I'm going to be doing a lot more of that this week, actually. I'm spending time later in the district when we're going to be meeting with a variety of folks. I'm meeting with the president of University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. I'm meeting with some faith leaders. I'm meeting with labor leaders. We're doing a listening tour throughout the district to really kind of hear again from voters what they'd like to charge me with when I get to Congress and I'm sworn in on January 3rd. So did a lot of listening during the campaign. Collaboration I would say was the overwhelming theme that I heard throughout that I might not have expected. And that's really what I feel like I'll be doing once sworn in.

 

Dusty Weis:

You had mentioned a little while ago the important, particularly of that consensus building and collaboration when it comes to issues of infrastructure. You served as chair of Illinois Broadband Advisory Council. And broadband access is an issue that affects rural areas as much as it affects urban areas. So what did you take away from that experience that you can now use to advocate for your constituents in Washington and on a national level with that issue?

 

Congresswoman-Elect Nikki Budzinski:

Well, one of the things I think that's so important about this issue, and it continues to be, after the last three years of COVID, if we doubted the importance of being connected, that should really be made very crystal clear for students, for farmers, for small business owners, for community, small businesses throughout the 13th Congressional District. I think that before I took on that issue, I thought it was perhaps just a rural issue. It's actually urban and rural. People struggle with connectivity. What we were able to do in Illinois, as I mentioned, was a historic investment as a part of a larger bill that we did in Illinois called Rebuild Illinois. It was our largest infrastructure bill in the state's history. In there was a lot of horizontal and vertical infrastructure improvements, which were needed in the state.

 

But also, that was where the broadband investment was, over $400 million over five years. And so creating a process with which how are we going to look at having a results-driven process that had all of the key stakeholders, again, Democrat, Republican, the Farm Bureau was at our table, we had the telecom industry at the table to collaboratively look at the issue and say, "What do we want out of this investment beyond just connectivity?" We realized at that time that for broadband in Illinois, there had been a lot of investment in middle mile investment, but not last mile. And the last mile actually ends up being kind of some of the most cost prohibitive. So we wanted to prioritize making sure that we were making that final connect in the areas that weren't connected.

But we looked also at bigger goals. And one of the things that actually I'd be very interested in continuing to pursue in Congress is telehealth. That's incredibly important I think in rural communities, urban communities, places where there aren't specialty care, and providing access to healthcare through telehealth. That is not possible without making sure that you have the connectivity and the speed rate that you need in order to connect a doctor with their patient. And so I think we saw that as well during COVID. I know in the state of Illinois and at the federal level, there were real expansions of telehealth efforts, but that was really only going to be possible for communities that had again the access to the broadband needs that were required. I think that telehealth is a really important thing to making sure that rural communities have again, access to specialty care when we're looking at: How are we going to tackle substance abuse and substance abuse treatment? How are we going to tackle mental health needs?

 

I think that telehealth could be an important solution to those issues. But again, broadband was the undergirding investment that made that possible. And so when I worked on the Broadband Advisory Council, that was one of the outcomes. We became focused on: What were the outcomes we were looking for? That was one of kind of the guiding principles to where we wanted to see investment. And then basically, after we had a framework collectively, we established the Connect Illinois office, which is the office of broadband that is now housed within the office of the governor. And there was a person hired to lead that effort, and executive director. And then we put out notice for funding. And that has gone very well over the last several years. There have been millions of dollars that have been distributed throughout the state of Illinois.

 

The thing that is also I think exciting with my experience at the state level is: How do you partner that and marry it with resources and funding at the federal level? As you know, Dusty and Brooke, they passed at the federal level a very large bipartisan infrastructure package. As a part of that federal package, there were critical investments in broadband in that bill as well. So I think part of the job that I have is looking at the investments that are being made at the state level and the federal level. Where are the priorities for the communities of Central and Southern Illinois? How do you marry the two? How do you partner with local and state leaders to making sure we're getting the most out of our taxpayer dollars? I think that's incredibly important. And so I think it's maximizing those resources.

 

So I learned a lot from that experience with broadband that I think will be very informative and helpful as I look to serving in Congress. I do think again, one of the things that's unique about the 13th Congressional District, if I could describe it just briefly, it does go to the farthest eastern end of the University of Illinois. I live in Springfield, which is dead center in the state of Illinois, and then it drops down to just outside of St. Louis. The two counties, Madison and St. Clair County are really suburban St. Louis counties on the Illinois side of the river. But we do have the Mississippi River right up against the 13th. So investments that are infrastructure investments that go well beyond broadband are going to be critical to this district as well. Locks and dams investment, there's flooding that happens now pretty regularly in the southern western part of this district. How are we investing in flood mitigation efforts to make sure that we're protecting those farmers that are being impacted clearly by historic rain that we're seeing in this area?

 

And so I think those are kind of some of the infrastructure investments that I'm going to be looking to work on. But also, I wanted to say agriculture is something that is going to be incredibly important. As you know in Illinois, the agrarian economy is one of our biggest economic drivers in the entire state of Illinois. The 13th Congressional District is no different. It is made up of a lot of rural communities, very strong agricultural base. I think looking at opportunities again, like the broadband example I've made is: How are we working together to address some of the issues, expanding bio fuels, making sure that farmers have in these communities the investments infrastructure to support an agrarian economy that we have in this area? So those are the kind of experiences and what I'll be looking to be working on in Congress.

 

Brooke Appleton:

And we've talked a lot about already bipartisanship and the importance of bipartisanship and collaborating, which is so refreshing to hear, and I know something that we really put a lot of weight in at the National Corn Growers Association. So congratulations on you having been elected the freshman representative to the New Democrat Coalition. We work with many members of this moderate caucus on issues of importance to our membership from trade, transportation, taxes, you kind of name it, issues important to our membership. So again, we've talked a lot about bipartisanship. And we've talked a lot about it in previous podcasts that we've had. And we appreciate that's still a challenge here in Washington, and kind of cutting through the noise of what is perceived as and can be a very partisan environment and a very challenging environment. Do you want to maybe shed a little light on how you plan to approach that as you make your way into the new Congress as a freshman?

 

Congresswoman-Elect Nikki Budzinski:

So when I, as a candidate, I came across the New Democratic Coalition, the reason I really liked them, I immediately loved that they were about public policy. They are a coalition of elected leaders that believe that perfect shouldn't be the enemy of the good, that we can be collaborative and bipartisan. So I think that those are really important attributes to finding real solutions and delivering for the communities in this district. And so I've been excited since the November 8th election to actually have the chance to participate in three different new member orientations. Many of them have been bipartisan, have had bipartisan elements to them. And there have been great opportunities to meet with obviously new colleagues on the Democratic side, but also on the Republican side, meeting some of my newer colleagues as well.

 

And I think that the thing that's been so interesting as a part of these new member orientations is how much they underscore the importance of relationships. When we're talking about how we can be bipartisan, how we can work together, we have to build trust. We've got to build relationships. And they will say that really has started for a lot of members at their new member orientation, taking time to have a cup of coffee or visit with someone that is not of your same political party, but is somebody that you could maybe find some common ground with. I'd use as an example, I just recently got back from Harvard. Harvard hosts a new member orientation, which is really fascinating, they bring in a lot of academics, but also current members of Congress to give you pro tips on what to be looking for after January 3rd.

 

I had the opportunity to meet with Zach Nunn. Zach Nunn is a congressman-elect that's going to be representing Des Moines. I too represent a state capital in Springfield, and so Zach and I got to talking about some of the similarities between our districts. And he'd offered and invited me to join him for his state fair next summer. And I thought that was a great opportunity. I said, "Of course," and I said, "I hope you'll come and visit my state fair, which is also in August." I'd also say the Farm Progress Show is something. Decatur is in my district. Decatur hosts and switches with Iowa off and on, off year, the Farm Progress Show. And so I think that there are opportunities like that, and talking to Zach, in particular about agriculture, that I think that we're going to find a lot of issues where we're going to be able to work together to support our communities.

 

It was really important to me that there are seven counties in the 13th Congressional District. All seven of them I will share with a Republican member of Congress. Six of them, I will share with Congresswoman Mary Miller, who's on the House Agriculture Committee, the seventh I will share with Congressman Mike Bost, who is very likely to be in line to be the chair of the Veteran's Affairs Committee. I've reached out and sat down with both of them, including outgoing Congressman Rodney Davis, who's been representing the 13th District now for 10 years, just to get advice, to ask for ideas, what's important to them. Congresswoman Mary Miller in particular serves on the House Ag Committee.

 

As I said, there's a Farm Bill next year. I have made it pretty well known that I'm hoping that I can serve on the House Agriculture Committee. I think if I did have that opportunity, I'm not hiding from the fact that we might disagree. Congresswoman Miller and I will disagree on a lot of issues. But maybe in the agriculture space, there could be an issue or two where we can work together, and I think that's really important. So trying to find those areas where maybe we can find some common ground, I think the Farm Bill in particular is a place where we can potentially do that.

 

Brooke Appleton:

I think you make a really good point, and the Agriculture Committee seems to be one of the few places left in Washington where it's really less about Republicans and Democrats. The issues that we face in agriculture tend to be regional. So it's really just kind of about what part of the country you're in, and not so much what party you're in. So we do find a lot of bipartisanship, so it's really good to hear that you already kind of started those conversations with your fellow Illinois members. And I will say, as someone who works for the National Corn Growers Association, hearing collaboration with an Iowan and an Illinois member is already good news to me, as those are two pretty big corn-growing states that we obviously have really active state associations in. So that's good to hear, and our membership will be happy to hear that as well.

 

Dusty Weis:

Bridging that Mississippi River, that's an important task, certainly. And you mentioned the importance of collaborating on the Farm Bill, also veterans' issues being two issues that are important in farm country. But we all know that from the perspective of someone who's out in these corn fields every day. What happens in Washington, what happens in politics can still seem very far away from life on the farm. But with everything that's happened in the last year, you've got Russia's attack on Ukraine, the disruption to global food supplies that resulted, supply chain issues. Do you think the impact that we've felt on the farm from those events has sort of changed the way that growers look at Washington?

 

Congresswoman-Elect Nikki Budzinski:

Absolutely. Input prices is something that I heard consistently throughout the campaign. I think that it is something that we're going to need to be able to tackle in this next Farm Bill. As I mentioned, I think the issues around our supply chain are still very much felt. I talked a lot about making things here again. I think we need to be prioritizing American business, American workers, helping to relieve the supply chain pressures because a lot of the supply chain pressures have really been what has exacerbated our issues around inflation. So when we want to talk about how we're going to address input prices, I think it's really getting to the heart of our supply chain issues. And how are we going to address those?

 

Getting back to the Farm Bill, I think it's incredibly important. I think how we're addressing those issues around the supply chain, are there opportunities for us to do that in the Farm Bill potentially? I think we need to make sure there's a strong safety net for our family farmers within this Farm Bill as well, so that when we do see these pressures around a supply chain, input prices that are not going away, fuel prices, what are we doing to support them? I think we have opportunities to show our support in this Farm Bill. It's why I've always been a very consistent supporter of crop insurance. I think that's very important. I think we need to be promoting voluntary incentives for climate smart agriculture. I think that's something I will be looking to finding opportunities to incentivize within our Farm Bill and maintaining our strong nutrition programs, obviously, will also be very important. But I think the Farm Bill, again Dusty, I think it presents this real great opportunity for us next year to help provide relief to family farmers and address some of these really big issues.

 

Brooke Appleton:

I know we've talked about this a little bit already, about kind of what you're looking forward to as you make your way into this new Congress. But what do you kind of see as your biggest challenge ahead for your first year here in Congress? And I guess what are you most looking forward to?

 

Congresswoman-Elect Nikki Budzinski:

I think that what I'm most looking forward to is getting down to the work of it. I'm excited to find out what committees I'm going to end up being on. As I mentioned, the House Agriculture Committee is my top priority. I've also mentioned I'm very interested in transportation and infrastructure. I'm also very interested in the Veterans' Committee. So I think first and foremost is kind of finding out how that shakes out, what committees I'm going to serve on. Been working really hard to build out a really strong team, so that we are ready to hit the ground running. We'll have offices opened on day one. I participated, as I'm sure you all have heard about the freshman lottery for our office selection, which is this kind of funny cross between the NFL draft and the Hunger Games all at one time. So I ended up with an office in Longworth on the first floor. I'm very excited about that.

 

Dusty Weis:

That's good real estate. Yeah.

 

Congresswoman-Elect Nikki Budzinski:

Yeah, that's a good spot. So I think first and foremost is making sure that we're operational. Constituency service is incredibly important. I've hired my in district director. I have a chief of staff. I think getting those folks in place is really critical. But I am really looking forward to the policy. I do think that again, the Farm Bill is one of the few things that I know is a must pass, even in a narrowly divided Congress, so could potentially one of the few things that we see for sure is going to be able to get done in these next two years. So being a part of that, I've had the opportunity when I served in the governor's administration to work on some really large omnibus bills, whether it's gaming or infrastructure. As a legislator, you learn a lot from those experiences. I have no doubt I'll learn a lot from being a part of this Farm Bill and advocating for family farmers in the communities in this district, so I'm looking forward to that work.

 

Dusty Weis:

Representative-elect, when you talk to members of Congress, and I know that you have talked to a lot by this stage, but they'll tell you that two years goes by in the blink of an eye. And so two years from now, when you're looking back on your first term in office, maybe deciding whether or not you want to pursue a second, how do you think your perceptions of the job, your perceptions of Congress, of Washington, will have changed or evolved for you over that first term?

 

Congresswoman-Elect Nikki Budzinski:

I think that right now, as I mentioned, if I could be a part of again this Farm Bill that I think is going to come up in these next two years, I think that is going to be a very big teaching moment for me, and instructive and kind of moving forward. I think it's going to be interesting to see in a very narrowly again divided Congress, kind of the areas where we are going to be able to work together, certainly even well beyond the Farm Bill. One of the reasons why I have mentioned that I'm interested in transportation and infrastructure is the implementation of the Federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill is going to be happening while I'm here in my first term.

 

And so I think just being a part of making sure that we're able to capture as much of those resources as we possibly can for the families in Central and Southern Illinois, and hopefully being a part of that discussion I think is going to be really important. And so I'd highlight those two areas as the things that I'm really going to be the most focused on, and interested in looking back on in these next two years as being a part of. And so yeah, I look forward to that work and see where we land.

 

Brooke Appleton:

Well, Congresswoman-elect, we wish you all the very best as you enter this next phase. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the wonderful relationship we had and we enjoyed with retiring Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, and outgoing member Rodney Davis. They were both champions of agriculture and biofuels policy. We really hope to kind of just continue that as you enter into the 13th District of Illinois. We very much look forward to working closely with you and advocating for corn growers across the country. So thank you so much for your time today. We really appreciate you coming on here and giving us your perspective.

 

Congresswoman-Elect Nikki Budzinski:

Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it, and I look forward to partnering with the corn growers and Congress.

 

Dusty Weis:

Congresswoman-Elect Nikki Budzinski from the great state of Illinois, thank you so much for sharing your perspective with us. And Brooke Appleton, NCGA vice-president of public policy, thank you for lending your expertise to the conversation as well. I'm Dusty Weis for The National Corn Growers Association. And we hope you'll join us again next month for another episode of The Cobcast, inside the grind with The National Corn Growers Association.

 

And if you're on Twitter, you can follow @NationalCorn for more news and updates from the NCGA. Visit ncga.com to sign up for the association's email newsletter. And make sure you're following this show in your favorite podcast app. The Cobcast is brought to you by The National Corn Growers Association, with editing and production oversight by Larry Kilgore III. And it's produced by Podcamp Media, branded podcast production for businesses, podcampmedia.com. For The National Corn Growers Association, thanks for listening. I'm Dusty Weis.

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