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US Rep. Shimkus Meets with Champaign County Chamber of Commerce

Whether a federal court sides with Democrats or Republicans on their versions of a Congressional map, Illinois' 15th District would still include parts of Champaign County.

Congressman John Shimkus (R-Collinsville), 53, would end up in that district, and he and most other GOP lawmakers are challenging the Democrats' map as part of a lawsuit. The suit contends that the map is unfair to minorities and Republicans.

Shimkus, who hasn't declared his candidacy, visited members of the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce Friday morning. He said he's hopeful the Democratic map won't stand up in court.

"I mean the Democrats thought we were over," he said. "They got more than they bargained for, and in our system of government, how are conflicts solved? Through the courts."

One difference between the maps is that the GOP's version would place less of Champaign and Vermilion Counties in the 15th district. Under either map, that district would contain all of Edgar, Coles, and Douglas Counties, but not the cities of Champaign or Urbana. Those areas would fall under a redrawn district inherited by U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson (R-Urbana), who plans on running for re-election.

During his meeting with chamber members, Shimkus was asked about the economy. He said the debate over raising the debt ceiling created more uncertainty about the state of the economy. He said his constituents want Congress to just stop spending.

"We know the economy, we know the job issue is difficult, but they really want to get control of this fiscal position," he said. "I think we did that by having that fight (with the debt ceiling debate), and now we just have to move forward."

As a Congressional Super Committee looks at ways to save more than a trillion dollars over the next decade, Shimkus said entitlement programs, like Medicare and Medicaid, should be considered for possible cuts.

(Photo by Sean Powers/WILL)