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We will broadcast special coverage of both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, starting with the RNC tonight at 8.

Politically Speaking: U.S. Rep. Shimkus On Ukraine's Future and GOP Primary For Illinois Governor

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Every week, St. Louis Public Radio's Chris McDaniel, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum talk about the week’s politics. 

We’ve broken another barrier on the show: U.S. Rep. John Shimkus is the first political figure from Illinois to be a guest on the podcast. The Collinsville Republican has represented large areas of southern Illinois since 1997 and plays a major role on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Shimkus is also a member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, which provides legislators from Europe and the Americas input on the alliance’s direction. He’s also been outspoken against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions in Ukraine.

During the show, Shimkus said:

  • The U.S. and its allies should take preliminary steps to invite Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova into NATO. He says they should be given membership action plans, which would provide a pathway for the countries eventually to join the alliance.
  • He doesn’t expect Russia to react favorably to that move. But he says it would make give Russia pause before intervening in those country’s affairs.
  • He’s involved in a bid to revamp federal regulations on which chemicals can be used in commerce.Although he’s working with some Democrats to pass legislation, Shimkus says the bill may run into trouble from Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.
  • Tuesday's Illinois Republican primary for governor is a two-man race between businessman Bruce Rauner and state Sen. Kirk Dillard. If Rauner prevails, he predicts Democrats will attack him like national Democrats attacked GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney in 2012.

Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter@csmcdaniel

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter@jmannies

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter@jrosenbaum

Follow John Shimkus on Twitter: @RepShimkus

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.
Jo Mannies is a freelance journalist and former political reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.