Schakowsky, Dold Agree on Energy Innovation But Little Else
Neighboring members of Congress express different views on most issues a few miles apart.
Stimulating innovation with alternative sources of energy may be the one issue where Democrats and Republicans in Congress can come to an agreement on legislation as neighboring members of Congress gave a similar message a few miles apart Sunday.
“Why should we innovate when it comes to energy and buy the stuff from China to bring it back to the United States,” asked Schakowsky. “We should be building the wind turbines, we should be building the batteries, we should be making the things right here in America.”
While Schakowsky was presenting her ideas to more than 60 people attending a New Trier Democratic Organization event at the Winnetka Community House, Dold was touting a similar message to more than 100 persons at a New Trier Republican Organization fundraiser at Clarkson Park in Northfield.
“We have to give the green light to solar, hydro electric and wind power,” Dold said. We want to be energy independent. We want to wean ourselves from foreign oil if possible,” he added at a Town Hall meeting Saturday in Lake Forest.
Dold and Schakowsky agreed on little else. Their supporters expressed a very different attitude on the boundaries of the new Congressional districts passed last month by the Illinois General Assembly splitting New Trier Township between the two members of Congress.
Ninth District Congresswoman Schakowsky currently represents a slice of Wilmette while Dold calls the people living in the rest of Wilmette along with all of Winnetka, Glencoe, Northfield and Kenilworth his 10th District constituents. Under the new map, the 9th will include all of most of New Trier Township except Glencoe. Glencoe will be in the 10th.
“I’m highly disappointed. We had been told it would be a fair and transparent process. It was neither,” New Trier Republican Committeeman Tolbert Chisum of Kenilworth said. “Jan Schakowsky does not represent the views of New Trier citizens.”
Carmen Corbett of Wilmette and Nancy Pred of Winnetka were thrilled with the message they heard from Schakowsky. They are pleased she may be representing their interests after the next election.
“As a Wilmette resident I am thrilled to have a person who will tell the truth and represent my values in Washington,” Corbett said. “Mr. Dold does not do that and never will.”
Winnetka Village President Jessica Tucker, who was at the Republican gathering listening to Dold, takes a more pragmatic view of the change.
“I look forward to working on municipal issues with whoever is representing us in Congress,” Tucker said. “These issues are not red or blue.”
When one of the people at the Republican event asked Dold about the changed borders he too expressed a practical view.
“I’m running in the 10thwhich has more of the people in the current district,” Dold said. “We’re going to focus on constituent services. If we do that we’re going to be OK.”
Both Schakowsky and Dold agree job creation and deficit reduction are two of the most important things they just accomplish in Congress. They suggest a different path to reach the same goal.
Schakowsky introduced a bill earlier this year increasing the federal income tax rate for people earning in excess of $1 million per year. She said the rates are less than those paid during the years of Ronald Reagan’s presidency.
“If your income for a year is $1 million your tax bracket will be 45 percent. It ratchets up to those who earn in a year, and there are those who do, $1 billion to 49 percent,” Schakowsky said. That’s how you achieve deficit reduction,” she added to loud and sustained applause.
Dold would rather concentrate on less spending. “I want to focus on spending cuts first and we’ll see where we go from there,” Dold said in response to Schakowsky’s idea. He has never advocated a tax increase and dismisses it as “Not my style.”
With unemployment jumping to 9.1 percent according to reports released last week, Schakowsky is ready to make the government an employer to put people to work at jobs that need to be done in the United States.
“I’m going to introduce a bill to create a real jobs program,” Schakowsky said. “Not just to give incentives to the private sector but to hire people. God knows how many bridges need to be fixed. Putting people to work is a debt and deficit reduction program that is given far too little attention.”
Dold still favors creating an environment where the private sector can grow and create jobs. When it comes to repairing infrastructure, he wants to take a look at all alternatives.
“I’d have to look at the proposal,” Dold said. “We have contractors in the private sector who have done that kind of work. Why can’t they employ the same people?”
Schakowsky touts the way the federal government kept General Motors and Chrysler from going out of business. “We saved the automobile industry,” she said. “Now they’re adding more shifts.”
Another piece Schakowsky would add to the economic recovery package is curtailing the pace of foreclosure of American homes.
“We need to have a robust foreclosure program,” Schakowsky said. “If mortgage payments were reduced they (people) could stay in their homes.” She suggested Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac refinance mortgages whose current interest is above market rates.