Over August, as I travel the district talking to you, I am asked a lot of questions! Here are a few I've received in the past week:
What is your take on the July unemployment numbers? -John Howell, AM560 WIND Radio Host
Unemployment increased to 8.3 percent last month (up from 8.2 percent in June), though jobs grew by 163,000 (Labor Dept had predicted 100,000).
This is actually more jobs than in any month since February, but rising unemployment rate signals that recovery, while not headed for a stall, remains too weak to bring down high unemployment. Obama is going to try to spin this as a positive, but it's anything but.
President Obama has the worst record on job creation of any president in modern history. Under his watch, the country has lost a half-million jobs, the unemployment rate has been above 8 percent for 42 months in a row, and 23 million Americans are still struggling for work.
What are you doing for small businesses? -Question from Wednesday's Chamber Luncheon in West Chicago
65 percent- and in some years, up to 80 percent- of new jobs are created by small businesses.
As I travel the district, what I consistently hear from business owners is that taxes and regulations are their top concerns (topping poor sales), and their reasons for not hiring.
The House has passed more than 30 jobs bills to set small business owners free from regulations that are making them hesitant to hire, in addition to voting to stop the President's massive tax hike projected to cost 700,000 jobs by experts.
Can you tell us your energy policy? -John from Huntley, on this week's Congressional Conference Call
We need domestic sources of energy. Foreign relations are too unstable and gas prices are too high not to.
I voted for the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have provided 20,000 private sector jobs immediately. Unfortunately, the initiative didn't make it into the final Transportation bill, but I have high hopes that it will still become a reality.
Federal permitting for oil & gas leases on federal lands has decreased under this President. That's not going to help us become energy independent.
What do you do when you aren't in Washington? -Katie B., via Facebook
In the last 20 or so months, I've met with more than 100 business owners from across Illinois. I spend a lot of time touring their factories and stores and asking them what it would take for them to hire just one more person. (If every small business in the U.S. could do this, we would have overemployment!)
I update constituents at events on what Washington is doing (or not doing), and get their feedback.
There's also time to support great causes. Just this week I had the opportunity to be present as Land O' Lakes donated 40,000 lbs. of macaroni and cheese to the Northern Illinois Food Bank! This was a tremendously generous donation that will feed a lot of hungry kids in northern Illinois.
I'm looking forward to more Town Halls in the coming days in Yorkville, Elburn, St. Charles and Hampshire. Look for notices about these in your local newspaper, or call my office for more details.
You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook for updates. You can also contact or call my office at 202-225-2976 anytime.