We need to get America back to work, and while we’ve seen some improvements in the economy, too many working families continue to struggle to get by.  That’s why job creation and economic development remain my top priority.

To ensure good-paying jobs stay here in America, we need to close tax loopholes for corporations that ship jobs overseas, crack down on unfair currency manipulation that undercuts our workers and work together to ensure more products read “Made in the USA.”

Our region has a long and proud manufacturing tradition and a skilled workforce that’s second to none.  With the Quad Cities, Peoria and Rockford as anchors, our region has the potential to be a true “Manufacturing Triangle,” with the infrastructure and the innovative capacity to be a hub of national manufacturing growth.

To help spur the “Manufacturing Triangle”, I urged the President, face-to-face, to bring the nation’s first Digital Manufacturing and Design Institute to our state.  Awarded to Illinois in the spring of 2014, this Digital Manufacturing Lab will soon generate the research and manufacturing jobs of the future across our region.  I have also focused on expanding access to training and education to help our workers close the “skills gap” and compete for the jobs that are available today.

I was also proud to launch “Partnering for Illinois’ Economic Future” with experts from the University of Illinois to foster collaboration at the local level in an effort to create jobs and boost economic growth in our communities.  This on-going initiative, which includes an annual summit, will continue to bring together economic development and community leaders from across our region to share best practices and generate ideas that will help move us forward together.

I will continue to focus day and night on increasing opportunity for all so that Illinois’ middle class remains strong and so our communities remain the best places possible to live, work and raise a family.