Into the Wild Blue Yonder: Adam Kinzinger's Flight From Air Force Pilot to Congressman

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Rising Star

Back in the U.S. Capitol building, standing not far from where he'll cast his first vote in the House of Representatives early next year, Kinzinger's already a rising star. House Republican leadership chose him -- as one of four freshmen members -- to serve on the GOP Majority Transition Team. And on Wednesday, he went one-on-one with Bill Hemmer on Fox News.

Health Care, Jobs, Energy Policy -- GOP Must Come Up With Alternatives

Kinzinger toes the Republican Party line on most issues, but speaks less like a well-rehearsed politician and more like a 32-year-old newcomer.

On health care, one of the key issues on which he won his House seat -- he wants to repeal the law but insists that the GOP follow up with an alternative plan.

"As Republicans, we can't repeal a bill and say, 'Sweet, the bill's repealed, let's talk about something else.' If we're going to touch health care, and we're actually going to repeal it, we've got to follow it up with something that makes sense," he said. "I believe we lost this debate because in '04, '06, '07, we never admitted there was a problem. We had our head in the sand. And people are clamoring, saying, 'Health care costs too much!' And the Republican leadership is like, 'Yeah, whatever.'"

On new job creation, Kinzinger worries that the impending expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts will hurt small businesses trying to plan for the future. He wants companies to feel safe enough to take risks."You create an environment that allows for that to thrive. First off, we've got to take away the uncertainty. And I know this sounds like talking points ... but it's very true."

And on energy policy, he's a huge proponent of the use nuclear energy -- unsurprising, given his district has three nuclear power plants.

Even as a rising star with support from the leadership, though, Kinzinger has his fears

"My biggest fear is ... allowing this to consume your personal life. Because this is a very busy job. Your mind is on congressional politics 100 percent of the time. And you have to find a way to turn that off and maintain a personal life," he said. "So my biggest fear is being eaten up, swallowed up, and becoming this."

It's enough of a feat to beat an incumbent and be elected to Congress at the age of 32. But not getting consumed by Washington could be Kinzinger's greatest feat of all.

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