I grew up in a modest, middle-class family. My brothers and I were taught that if we worked hard we would have opportunity and the chance to succeed. This seems out of reach today. Many people still have not fully recovered from the financial crisis, and small business has been particularly slow to recover. Our region has long been at the forefront of economic growth and industrialization, but automation continues to change our workplace and require different skills from our nation’s workers. It’s time for Congress to put our economy and American workers first, and stop promoting damaging trade deals that incentivize American companies to send jobs overseas. I will support policies that enable the middle-class to expand and grow in the economy of today and tomorrow.
Since the 1980s, wages have stagnated for everyone except the extremely rich. Donald Trump said he would fight for the middle class, but instead he has advocated for corporations and special interests. Likewise, Peter Roskam led efforts to pass a tax bill that rewards large corporations and pays for it by raising taxes on the middle class. We need policies in Congress that reward hard work, and place economic security in reach for families throughout our communities.
With constantly emerging technologies and workplace innovations, we need to make sure our workers can compete in the global job market. Here in Illinois, we’ve seen the success of job training programs such as the Manufacturing Careers Internship Program, a technical training program that helps young people develop what they need to pursue manufacturing careers while providing companies with trained workers. But there is still more we can and must do, like encouraging private sector investment in job recruitment programs and apprenticeships to help our workers get ahead and succeed.
Our community has seen the devastating impact of trade deals like NAFTA. But when negotiated fairly, trade can offer an opportunity to create jobs, foster economic growth, and encourage businesses to pick Illinois as their home. That’s why I support fixing NAFTA to make sure we keep jobs here at home.
In Congress, I will only support trade deals that are fair to the very workers they are supposed to benefit. This means supporting deals that include worker standards to ensure employees are safe and treated fairly in the workplace. Similarly, trade deals must also include strict environmental standards and protections from currency manipulation to make sure our businesses can compete fairly in the global market.