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Let’s ‘fix Washington’s priorities’

Published: Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012 1:15 a.m. CDT
Cheri Bustos

I’m running for Congress to fix Washington’s priorities and make job creation the No. 1 issue. Like many Americans, I have been incredibly frustrated with the gridlock in Congress where common sense bills never pass because of narrow ideological divisions. This gridlock costs American jobs.

What’s even worse is Congress has actually passed legislation that encourages companies to move jobs overseas. I know we have the best workers in the world, and they can compete with anyone as long as there is a level playing field. But first, we need to level that playing field.

This election is a choice between different sets of priorities. My opponent, Congressman Bobby Schilling, voted to send American jobs overseas, even giving them tax breaks to leave our shores. He supports tax breaks for millionaires while forcing seniors to pay $6,400 for their Medicare and raising taxes on middle-class families. These are Congressman Schilling’s priorities.

I’m a working mom, and I know the struggles families face. My husband is a captain in the Rock Island County Sheriff’s Department, and we have three grown sons. When we were first starting out, we had to work opposite shifts because we couldn’t afford child care.

I want to bring some common sense to Congress. Let’s end the tax incentives that encourage companies to ship jobs overseas and replace them with tax breaks to bring jobs home. We need to level the playing field to give our workers and companies the ability to compete. The average wage in Vietnam is 13 cents an hour. In China, there are very few labor protection laws. We cannot afford to copy China. And we can never engage in a race to the bottom. 

The results of failed policies can already be seen in our region. In Freeport, a company owned by Bain Capital is shipping 170 jobs to China. In Galesburg, the community is just beginning to recover after Maytag moved to Mexico and left 1,700 people out of work. 

On day one, I proposed a jobs plan that uses the manufacturing hubs of our district as anchors while incorporating transportation and education. In Peoria, Rockford and the Quad Cities, we have a strong foundation of manufacturing, community colleges and transportation infrastructure. We need investment and coordination.

For example, our community colleges should offer training in needed areas to fill skills gaps. We need an advocate in Congress who can work to recruit companies to our region.

I support the Bring American Jobs Home Act, a bill that ends tax breaks for companies that send jobs abroad and replaces them with tax incentives to bring jobs home. This is a common-sense bill that Congressman Schilling opposes. 

Congress is broken, focusing on the wrong priorities, and refusing to act on important legislation. I’m running for Congress to end gridlock and make job creation my No. 1 priority.

Congress must take common-sense actions to foster job creation in America, but first we need to realign Congress’ priorities. I’m running to do just that.

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