Saying "we are at a crossroads in this country," seventh-term Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, a Chicago Democrat, urged an overflow crowd at the Wheeling Township Democratic Organization to support President Obama's jobs bill and not be content with plans that merely cut taxes.
"There is not a shred of evidence that cutting taxes for the wealthy" can lift our nation out of a recession, Schakowsky said Saturday in Arlington Heights.
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She told the 50 supporters that voters realize that creating jobs is more important than reducing deficits, and that public sector jobs are "real jobs" and also stimulate the private sector.
That Schakowsky was appearing at the meeting was a reflection of the new Congressional map, drawn by Democrats following the 2010 Census. Schakowsky, who has represented the North Side of Chicago and the suburbs immediately North and Northwest of the city, will be running for the first time in a district that stretches into a much-more Republican area that includes much of Arlington Heights.
"My district is less Democratic than it was," says Schakowsky, who often won re-election by a ratio of 3-1 in her old district. "It's very challenging. I'm going to have to work hard out here."
In speaking to the Wheeling Township Democrats, she noted a recent poll that showed 81 percent of Americans support Obama's idea to raise tax rates on incomes that are more than $1 million a year. She disputed the Republican position that the richest Americans are "job creators" and shouldn't have to pay more taxes at this time when the country needs jobs.
"The job creators? Hello, where are the jobs?" Schakowsky said.
She also criticized recent Republican-led legislation to remove Environmental Protection Agency regulations on businesses, saying that laws protecting air and water have led to jobs in environmental industries and the focus on alternative energies.
Author of one of several jobs bills currently before Congress, Schakowsky said that her bill probably will not win passage in this divided political climate but still has power because "it changes the conversation."
She said the President Obama called her Thursday and noted that in his jobs plan "borrowed liberally from the Schakowsky bill."