Conversation with Congressman Krishnamoorthi

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Conversation with Congressman Krishnamoorthi

To better align the Schaumburg Business Association’s advocacy efforts with area elected officials to pursue the best business climate for our members the SBA staff met with Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (Il-8th) to better understand the new political landscape in Washington D.C. as it relates to the divided government and what policies would be pursed by the 116th Congress that will benefit the Schaumburg economy.

During our 30-minute conversation with the Congressman the policy conversation ranged from transportation and infrastructure, healthcare, skills-based education, and entrepreneurship.

  • Transportation and Infrastructure: An area of hope for potential compromise between the two parties is transportation and infrastructure. With an aging system of roads, bridges, and airport services this policy issue has items that both parties should agree on. Reflecting on the 115th Congress, Krishnamoorthi feels that this should have been the first policy item addressed by President Trump’s administration when he took office in 2017. Ultimately, President Trump’s administration chose to address healthcare and tax reform during the first two-years of his presidency leaving an opportunity for transportation to be addressed in 2019.  

As employer’s most prominent critique of Schaumburg continues to be connected mobility – specifically public transportation – a policy focus in the next Congress would be a welcomed advancement. Congressman Krishanmoorthi did explain the historical path that transportation legislation has followed and much centers on mutual investment from local and state governments as well. Transportation is often funded with fiscal contributions from state and local governments and any future transportation programs would consist of those historical partnership. Most likely outcome is a transportation bill that features an emphasis on public-private partnerships to provide the complete funding to address the nation’s transportation issues.

  • Skills-Based Education: As Schaumburg employers continue to struggle in filling open positions one federal solution has been enhancing career and technical education opportunities and funding. During the 115th Congress, Krishnamoorthi was one of the leading voices for skills-based education even passing the bipartisan H.R. 2353 Strengthening Career and Education Technical Education for the 21st Century. Included in the bipartisan package was on-the-job training in fields like cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, and healthcare while also requiring educators to work with local businesses to ensure alignment of courses with in-demand jobs.

With 17% of Schaumburg’s workforce in manufacturing related jobs one challenge facing the economy in 2019 is the exposure and alignment of manufacturing needs with middle and high school students. Congressman Krishnamoorthi’s success in modernizing, reauthorizing, and funding skills-based education was important for the economic future of Schaumburg there is still an opportunity to expand the economic reach of these programs. Congressman Krishnamoorthi believes that the H.R. 2353 was an important first step but would like to see skills-based learning expanded to included entrepreneurship within skills-based education. Providing the basic skills to enter the workforce is important but providing the means for the next generation to become entrepreneur and business leaders is important. This assessment is correct in that many of Schaumburg’s small businesses were started because of a skill separate from business management.

The conversation with Congressman Krishnamoorthi provided the SBA a baseline on the policy pursuits expected to happen when Congress reconvenes in 2019. This ongoing relationship the SBA has developed with Congressman Krishnamoorthi allows for our organization to continue to be the advocate of our business community’s interest and work closely with our representative in Washington D.C. to create the most favorable business climate.

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