Adam Daniel Kinzinger (/ˈkɪnzɪŋər/; born February 27, 1978) is an American politician serving as the U.S. representative for Illinois's 16th congressional district. The district covers eastern Rockford, most of Rockford's suburbs, and a swath of exurban territory around Chicago. He is a member of the Republican Party. He is also a lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard.
Kinzinger was born on February 27, 1978, in Kankakee, Illinois, the son of Betty Jo, an elementary school teacher, and Rus Kinzinger, a CEO of faith-based organizations. After spending part of his youth in Jacksonville, Florida, he was primarily raised in Bloomington, Illinois. He graduated from Normal Community West High School in 1996 and earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Illinois State University in 2000.
After redistricting, Kinzinger's district was eliminated. Much of its eastern portion, including Kinzinger's home in Channahon, near Joliet, was merged with the Rockford-based 16th District, represented by fellow Republican Don Manzullo, a 67-year-old politician first elected in 1992. Before redistricting, Kinzinger had represented 31% of the newly apportioned district, while Manzullo had represented at least 44% of it. In the March Republican primary, Kinzinger defeated Manzullo, 56–44%. In the general election, Kinzinger defeated Democrat Wanda Rohl, 62–38%.
In 1998, while a student at Illinois State, Kinzinger ran for election as a county board member in McLean County. He won, defeating an incumbent, and at age 20 was one of the youngest county board members in McLean County history, Kinzinger remained on the board until resigning in 2003.
Kinzinger resigned from the McLean County Board in 2003 to join the United States Air Force. He was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in November 2003 and later awarded his pilot wings. Kinzinger was initially a KC-135 Stratotanker pilot and flew missions in South America, Guam, Iraq and Afghanistan. He later switched to flying the RC-26 surveillance aircraft and was stationed in Iraq twice.
Kinzinger met Republican U.S. Representatives Mike Pence, Mark Kirk, and Peter Roskam in January 2009 to discuss a possible run for Congress. He decided to run in Illinois's 11th congressional district, held by Debbie Halvorson. He started campaigning full-time in May 2009, when he returned home from his 3rd tour in Iraq. He was endorsed by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Kinzinger won the five-candidate Republican primary on February 2, 2010, with 64% of the vote.
In 2010 Kinzinger signed a pledge sponsored by Americans for Prosperity promising to vote against any global warming legislation that would raise taxes.
Kinzinger was first elected to Congress in 2010 from the 11th district. His district was largely merged with the 16th after the 2010 census, and Kinzinger transferred to the 16th after defeating its incumbent, Don Manzullo, in the Republican primary. After President Donald Trump was defeated in the 2020 presidential election, Kinzinger became known for his vocal opposition to Trump's claims of voter fraud and attempts to overturn the results. Kinzinger was one of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for incitement of insurrection in his second impeachment, and one of only two Republicans to vote to create a select committee to investigate the 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, to which he was subsequently appointed.
He was endorsed by the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times in the general election. Kinzinger defeated Halvorson 57–43% on November 2, 2010.
Kinzinger was engaged to Air Force Captain Riki Meyers, a fellow pilot, in 2011; they broke their engagement in 2012. Kinzinger became engaged to Sofia Boza-Holman, a former aide to John Boehner and aide to Vice President Mike Pence, in June 2019. They married on February 16, 2020. Their son, Christian Adam Kinzinger, was born in January 2022.
Kinzinger was targeted by the Club for Growth in 2014. In the Republican primary, he faced David Hale, a nurse and founder of the Rockford Tea Party. Kinzinger won with 78% of the vote.
On June 5, 2014, Kinzinger introduced a bill (H.R. 4801; 113th Congress) which would require the United States Secretary of Energy to prepare a report on the effects that thermal insulation has on both energy consumption and systems for providing potable water in federal buildings. Kinzinger argued that "with the federal government being the single largest consumer of energy in the country, doing our best to maximize the potential savings from improved insulation systems is a commonsense step I think everybody can agree on."
In 2015, Kinzinger was one of 60 Republicans voting to uphold President Barack Obama's 2014 executive order banning federal contractors from making hiring decisions that discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
In 2016, Kinzinger was one of 43 Republicans to vote for the Maloney Amendment to H.R. 5055, which would prohibit the use of funds for government contractors who discriminate against LGBT employees.
Kinzinger introduced the U.S. House version of the bipartisan bill Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act. The United States Senate version was written in March 2016 by Senators Chris Murphy and Rob Portman. After the 2016 U.S. presidential election, worries grew that Russian propaganda spread and organized by the Russian government swayed the outcome of the election, and members of Congress took action to safeguard the national security of the United States by advancing legislation to monitor incoming propaganda from external threats. On November 30, 2016, legislators approved a measure within the National Defense Authorization Act to ask the U.S. State Department to take action against foreign propaganda through an interagency panel. The legislation authorized funding of $160 million over a two-year period. The initiative was developed through the Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act.
Kinzinger won the March 2016 Republican primary with 100% of the vote. No candidates filed for the Democratic primary for his seat and no Democrat ran in the election; Kinzinger won the election with 99.9% of the vote.
Kinzinger announced publicly that he would not support GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump on August 3, 2016. "I'm an American before I'm a Republican," he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer, adding, "I'm a Republican because I believe that Republicanism is the best way to defend the United States of America... [Trump] throws all of these Republican principles on their head." Kinzinger noted, however, that he also would not support Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and was mulling other options.
In 2017, Kinzinger voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
In 2019, Kinzinger voted against the Equality Act.
Kinzinger has served in the Air Force Special Operations Command, Air Combat Command, Air Mobility Command, and Wisconsin Air National Guard and was progressively promoted to his current rank of Lieutenant Colonel. As part of his continued service with the Air National Guard, Kinzinger was deployed to the Mexico–United States border in February 2019 as part of efforts to maintain border security.
Kinzinger voted in line with President Donald Trump about 90% of the time and voted against Trump's first impeachment, but he subsequently became a critic of Trump and made headlines as a rare Republican officeholder willing to criticize him. In summer 2020, Kinzinger denounced QAnon and other baseless conspiracy theories that gained currency among Republican voters. After the 2020 presidential election, which Trump lost to Joe Biden, Kinzinger denounced Trump's claims that the election was stolen and criticized Trump's attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. In December 2020, after Trump repeated his claims of fraud on Twitter, Kinzinger tweeted that it was time for Trump to delete his Twitter account. He also criticized the Texas Republican Party and called for the firing of its chairman, Allen West, when the party floated the idea of secession, after the Supreme Court rejected Texas v. Pennsylvania, a bid by the state of Texas to overturn the presidential election outcome.
In 2021, Kinzinger was one of 21 House Republicans to sponsor the Fairness for All Act, the Republican alternative to the Equality Act. The bill would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity, and protect the free exercise of religion.
According to Jeremy W. Peters, Kinzinger had an uneasy feeling on the day of the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol and asked his wife not to attend the joint session to officially certify the election. He also told his office staff not to come to work that day and took his .380 caliber Ruger LCP to the Capitol and to the Rayburn House Office Building. Just after 2:18 p.m., Kinzinger received an email from the Capitol Police telling him to stay away from windows, close and lock doors, remain quiet, and silence all electronics. At this point Kinzinger barricaded the doors of his office and took out his gun.
On February 4, 2022, the Republican National Committee called the events of January 6, 2021, a "legitimate political discourse" and overwhelmingly voted by voice vote to censure Kinzinger (and Representative Liz Cheney) for taking part in the House investigation of the Capitol assault.
On January 7, 2021, the day after the storming of the U.S. Capitol by a violent pro-Trump mob, Kinzinger became the first Republican member of the House to call for Trump's removal from office via the 25th Amendment. In a video message, Kinzinger said that Trump had "abdicated his duty to protect the American people and the people's house," and his behavior made it clear that he had become "unmoored" from both his duties as president and "reality itself." He urged Vice President Mike Pence and the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment, saying that Trump was "unfit" and "unwell." Five days later, Kinzinger announced that he would vote in favor of Trump's second impeachment. He stated that there was "no doubt" that Trump "broke his oath of office and incited this insurrection." He also accused Trump of using the power of his office to launch a direct attack on Congress. He asked, "If these actions–the Article II branch inciting a deadly insurrection against the Article I branch–are not worthy of impeachment, then what is an impeachable offense?" On January 13, he joined nine other Republicans in voting for impeachment. In response, some Republicans vowed to support a primary challenge to Kinzinger. Kinzinger received a letter from 11 members of his family asserting he had joined "the devil's army" for publicly turning against Trump. Kinzinger said the family members suffer from "brainwashing" from conservative churches that led them astray.
On February 4, 2021, Kinzinger joined 10 other Republican House members voting with all voting Democrats to strip Marjorie Taylor Greene of her House Education and Labor Committee and House Budget Committee assignments in response to controversial political statements she had made.
On February 24, 2021, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene hung a sign outside of her office reading "There are TWO genders: MALE & FEMALE 'Trust The Science!'" in response to Representative Marie Newman, whose office is directly across from hers and who put a transgender flag outside her office in support of the Equality Act. Kinzinger quote-tweeted Greene and said, "This is sad and I’m sorry this happened. Rep. Newmans [sic] daughter is transgender, and this video and tweet represents the hate and fame driven politics of self-promotion at all evil costs. This garbage must end, in order to #RestoreOurGOP".
In March 2021, Kinzinger was one of eight Republicans to join the House majority in passing the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021.
On March 11, 2021, Kinzinger was one of eight Republican representatives who voted to pass the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021.
On April 9, 2021 Kinzinger called for Matt Gaetz to resign while he was being investigated on sex trafficking charges.
On May 19, 2021, Kinzinger and 34 other Republican House members in the 117th Congress voted to create a National Commission to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol Complex, intended to probe the storming of the Capitol. They joined all 217 Democrats present to vote to establish such a body. After the Senate failed to support the national bipartisan commission due to a Republican filibuster, Kinzinger remained committed to the concept.
On May 19, 2021, Kinzinger was one of 35 Republicans to join all Democrats in voting to approve legislation to establish the formation of a January 6 commission to investigate the storming of the U.S. Capitol. He was also one of two Republicans to join all Democrats in voting for a January 6 House select committee, along with Liz Cheney.
On July 1, 2021, Kinzinger voiced disdain about sanctions threatened by Republican leadership against Republican lawmakers who would participate in a House committee to investigate the storming of the Capitol. On July 25, he accepted Speaker Pelosi's appointment of him to the House Committee on the Jan. 6 Attack.
During a September 5, 2021, interview on CNN's State of the Union, Kinzinger said his party "desperately needs to tell the truth", that if the party pushes lies and conspiracy theories, it does not deserve to win Congressional majorities in the 2022 elections, that if they were "going to be in charge and pushing conspiracy, pushing division, and pushing lies, then the Republican Party should not have the majority", and that it "is a pretty scary place to go in this world if we start using our power as a way to get the outcome that we want" in elections.
On October 21, 2021, Kinzinger was one of nine House Republicans to vote to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress.
On October 29, 2021, Kinzinger announced that he will not seek reelection to Congress in 2022.
On November 5, 2021, Kinzinger was one of 13 House Republicans to break with their party and vote with a majority of Democrats for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
On November 14, 2021, Kinzinger, in an interview with Rolling Stone, said that he regretted voting against Trump's first impeachment: "If I went back in time, I would vote for the first impeachment." In the interview, he also called Tucker Carlson a "manipulative son of a bitch".
In 2022, Kinzinger was one of six Republicans to vote in favor of the Global Respect Act, which imposes sanctions on foreign persons responsible for violations of internationally recognized human rights against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI) individuals, and for other purposes.
On May 29, 2022, Kinzinger announced that he was "open to" an assault weapons ban following the 2022 Robb Elementary School shooting that killed 22 people.
As a member of the House committee investigating the January 6 attack and related issues, Kinzinger oversaw the committee's fifth public hearing on June 23, 2022, serving as the lead questioner of witnesses. The hearing featured testimony from former Department of Justice officials describing how Trump tried to enlist them in his fight to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
In early 2021, a few weeks after the 2021 Capitol riot, Kinzinger launched the Country First PAC, as a means to reform the Republican Party and distance itself from far-right conspiracies, including QAnon. In the first quarter of 2021, the PAC raised over $1.1 million to fight Trump's growing influence over the Republican Party.