For too long our economic recovery has been hindered by partisan bickering in Congress, preventing needed progress on many important issues. Consequently, middle-class families in Illinois and across the country continue to struggle to make ends meet. That’s why creating jobs and strengthening our economy is my top priority in Congress.
For more than 25 years, I helped small and medium-sized, mostly family-owned businesses succeed and grow, and I continue to serve the business community on the House Committee on Small Business. I’ve seen firsthand the challenges and issues many of our businesses are facing, and I’ve worked to be their voice in Congress.
Small and medium-sized businesses create the vast majority of new jobs, and they are the driving force behind economic growth and a thriving middle-class. The fastest and best way to propel our economy forward is to get these businesses hiring again. That’s why I introduced a bill promoting the interests of smaller businesses in any tax reform effort. And that’s why, to help entrepreneurs launch their ideas, I introduced a bill to expand public-private efforts to provide startups with the help and support they need to get off the ground.
Manufacturing – Make It In Illinois, Make It In America
Illinois’s 10th Congressional District represents the third largest concentration of manufacturing jobs in the entire country. Supporting manufacturers and helping them grow is critical to expanding our local economy.
Throughout the district, employers consistently tell me that it is hard to find people with the specific skills necessary for modern manufacturing work. I am committed to closing this skills gap. I introduced the AMERICA Works Act to bring educators and industry leaders together to create more effective workforce training and development programs, and I introduced the LEARN Act to expand On-the-Job training programs.
Innovation, Research and Development
American innovation has changed the world. The next generation of inventions and technological innovation will be the direct result of our investment in science and research and development. As we work to get our economy back on track, we can’t lose sight of the importance of critical investments in basic science, applied research and development.
In Congress, I have consistently advocated for maintaining government investment in both basic and applied science, as well as ongoing incentives for corporate research and development.
A growing economy based on modern, advanced manufacturing needs a modern, advanced infrastructure. However, Congress has continually kicked the can down the road, threatening our future with an infrastructure debt that is every bit as daunting as our fiscal debt.
It’s estimated that more than 70% of our nation’s roads and bridges are in mediocre to poor condition. Investments in a modern highway or new bridge, in smart electrical grids or expanded wireless access are all investments in our future. I support sensible, long-term investments in our nation’s infrastructure so we can provide the foundation our businesses need to grow and thrive.
Education is the engine that will drive the breakthrough technological advancements we will need to tackle virtually every challenge we face today and in the future, including energy and health care. The next great American invention that will change the world will be a direct result of the creative, intelligent thinking that begins in our classrooms.