Alan Jilka, D-Salina, 1st Congressional District candidate, thinks his experience in small business and local government gives him extra perspective on ways to reduce the federal deficit.
“The budget deficit is a huge problem that has got to be addressed,” Jilka said Friday. “It is going to take some long-term discipline — something Congress isn’t known for.”
He worked in his family’s business, Jilka Furniture, and was elected to three terms as mayor on Salina City Commission, beginning in 1997.
His time in the city commission taught him about drafting budgets without a deficit, because local governments cannot have a deficit.
“I think I have the best mixture of experience, passion, and perspective to represent the district,” Jilka said.
Regarding international affairs, he said reducing America’s reliance on foreign oil is critical, remembering the effects of the OPEC oil embargo of 1973.
Another crucial issue is immigration because of the rise of drug cartels in northern Mexico, but he doesn’t think America can simply deport the problem away.
Jilka also worked as an intern for Republican Sen. Nancy Kassebaum and Democratic Rep. Dan Glickman. He said he considers his experience working for legislators of both parties an advantage.
Jilka graduated from Sacred Heart High School in Salina in 1980 and earned a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Notre Dame in 1984.
In 1992, he earned a master’s degree in comparative literature from the University of South Carolina. That same year he began studying for a Ph.D. in Spanish and Portuguese from Vanderbilt University.
In 1995 he returned to Salina to work in his family’s furniture business.