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updated: 9/8/2011 10:17 PM

Bensenville businessman showcased at Obama jobs talk

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  • Congressman Peter Roskam, left center, tours Bensenville's Chicago White Metal Casting, Inc., with its president and CEO Eric Treiber.

       Congressman Peter Roskam, left center, tours Bensenville's Chicago White Metal Casting, Inc., with its president and CEO Eric Treiber.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

  • Congressman Peter Roskam, left, tours Bensenville's Chicago White Metal Casting, Inc., with its president and CEO Eric Treiber.

       Congressman Peter Roskam, left, tours Bensenville's Chicago White Metal Casting, Inc., with its president and CEO Eric Treiber.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

 
By Kerry Lester
Politics and Projects Writer

A week after Congressman Peter Roskam toured Chicago White Metal Casting in Bensenville, company President and CEO Eric Treiber got a mysterious email from the Wheaton Republican's staff.

"Opportunity of a lifetime," it read. "But very short window of opportunity."

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Treiber picked up the phone and quickly found out that Roskam wanted him to attend President Obama's jobs speech Thursday in Washington -- and watch it from House Speaker John Boehner's private box.

Treiber is one of roughly a dozen employers from across the country in attendance -- brought in to help highlight the government regulations the GOP calls both "excessive" and "job killing."

At the top of the fall agenda for the GOP-controlled House, now back in session, is an anti-regulatory push.

Roskam, chief deputy whip and one of the highest ranking House Republicans, was charged with doing the recruiting for Thursday's event.

"I had some things scheduled already," Treiber, who flew to Washington, D.C., Thursday morning, said.

"But I went home and talked to my wife, and she said, 'Are you crazy? You've got to go.'"

The day contained a flurry of activity and a bit of red-carpet treatment.

Treiber, sitting in Speaker Boehner's visitor's box, was just across the aisle from first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia during the speech.

He was also told that he and other business leaders attending the talk would be the focus of Republicans' official response to the president's speech.

Treiber, of LaGrange, said he's long known and respected Roskam, who first got to know the business when he was running for Congress in 2006.

Roskam visited the factory then, and took time to hear Chicago White Metal Casting's concerns.

"He wanted to take a chance on me, and that impressed me," Treiber said.

Treiber says Chicago White Metal Casting, a 240-employee company, gets hurt by regulations, which unneccessarily slow down work and preclude investment in new equipment and training.

Still, the LaGrange businessman says he doesn't align himself with any particular party.

Treiber said he recently spoke to his congressman, 3rd District Rep. Dan Lipinski, about profit-damaging regulations, and says he learned that the Western Springs Democrat is also "aligned with responsible regulations and with making sure when we put regulations in place, they're being investigated." Republicans and Democrats might agree on some regulatory issues, Treiber conceded.

But he says he also realizes with a divided Congress -- a Republican controlled House and Democratic controlled Senate -- partisanship often gets in the way of progress.

"I think what's frustrating to most is knowing right now that with a split Congress we're not going to get anything done for at least the next year," he said.

"It's a lot of partisanship. They all recognize it up here," he said of Washington.

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