The recent recession, caused in part by Republican-led tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, has had major negative effects on the economy of Illinois' 15th Congressional District. We need leadership in Congress that will understand the long-term impact of economic policy decisions.
Education creates opportunity
A well-educated and well-trained workforce is vital to economic prosperity. We need to increase access to affordable higher education for all Americans. At the federal level, we should allocate more funding for Pell Grants, the nation's largest non-loan aid program. No one should be denied access to college or other higher education because they come from poorer neighborhoods. By closing these gaps in education, we will ensure that our workforce can compete with the world in the 21st century.
Broadband brings rural Illinois into the 21st century
Broadband Internet access for rural communities is crucial to attract businesses to our district and create a well-trained, educated workforce that can compete globally. With the increased availability of online classes, Americans can now get a degree from an accredited university without stepping foot on campus. We need broadband access in rural communities to give equal access to these educational opportunities.
High-speed Internet access also empowers rural citizens to create their own small businesses. With nothing more than Internet access, a computer, and an idea, a person can start a business and achieve the American Dream. Home-grown businesses reinvest their profits here in the district and strengthen our communities.
Our country has always emerged from periods of economic challenges stronger than when we started. The current economic crisis will also bring out the best in our nation's ability to innovate and grow.
Future economic revival will come from inventing and refining new technologies that will make our country more energy independent and a world leader in the growing environmental industry. Our government needs to show its commitment to sustainability by offering grants and other federal funds to companies that invest in developing these new green technologies. Because Illinois has a long track record of research and innovation, our district can play a significant role in this new economy.
Supporting our Veterans
Our veterans risked their lives to serve our country. In return, our country should provide them with the support they need to return to their families and succeed in their communities. We must provide veterans with improved access to higher education, job training and placement, and family support services so they can quickly make the transition from military to civilian life.