Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL) today discussed his agenda for lifting working families out of poverty at Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg.
"The people of Galesburg have faced some tough times over the last several years," Hare said. "As a native of Galesburg and the representative from this area, I am absolutely committed to doing what I can to lift hard-working families out of poverty."
Hare said he will oppose any trade agreements that would hurt Knox County's local economy. "I will not stand for unfair trade policies like NAFTA that drove 1600 good paying Maytag jobs from Galesburg to Sonora, Mexico," Hare said. On Friday, Hare met with House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) to urge that future trade policies protect American workers.
During his first two months in Congress, Hare voted to raise the federal minimum wage, require Medicare to bargain for lower prescription drug prices, cut the interest rates on student loans in half, and redirect tax breaks from profit-heavy oil companies to the renewable fuels industry. "Too many families are slipping into poverty because they cannot afford life's basic necessities," Hare said.
Hare was also one of the leading national advocates for the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill to strengthen the right of workers to organize and bargain collectively. "Union workers earn an average of 30 percent more than their non-union counterparts," Hare said. "And they are much more likely to have health care and pension benefits."
Hare said he will continue to work with local leaders of both parties, including Mayor Gary C. Smith and State Representative Don Moffitt to address the growing poverty crisis in Galesburg. "Today's meeting is the first of many," Hare said. "We have a moral obligation to ensure that no one in our community lives in despair."