Lipinski Addresses West Suburban Chamber of Commerce
January 31, 2011
By Jane Michaels
Despite a heavily Republican crowd, U.S. Rep. Daniel Lipinski, D-3rd, from Western Springs was warmly received as he addressed members of the West Suburban Chamber of Commerce and Industry Monday.
Constituents and business leaders applauded several times as Lipinski outlined his positions on issues facing the newly elected Congress, particularly his opposition to continued leadership by former Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
"If you lose 63 seats, something is wrong," Lipinski said. "If we bring back the same leadership, what are we saying to the American people? The best thing the Democratic Party can have is a new leader."
Instead of supporting Pelosi for house minority leader, Lipinski said he backed Marcy Kaptur from Toledo, Ohio, because she holds similar views, including the need for developing manufacturing and pro-life issues.
"The bottom line is I represent the people in my district," he said at the breakfast meeting of business and civic leaders in Countryside.
To best represent his constituents, Lipinski defended the use of earmarks, legislative provisions directing funds to be spent on specific projects.
"I've always been a proponent of earmarks, because someone has to decide how money will be spent," he said. "A governor or state legislature is no more virtuous than me."
Lipinski lamented a recently defeated bill on the federal budget that would have designated $200,000 for police services in Brookfield and Countryside and $250,000 for the Community Nurse Health Association, based in La Grange.
Health-care reform continues to be an issue looming large before Congress, he said. Lipinski said he voted against the recent Republican proposal to repeal the landmark legislation passed a year ago, because nothing was offered to replace it.
"We have until 2014 to make changes before it fully goes into effect," he said. "I hope we make the changes, rather than arguing over a bill in anticipation of the next election."
Moving forward on health-care reform and a host of other issues will require less partisan politics and more compromise, where neither side is entirely happy with the outcome, but that's the nature of the process, he said.
Lipinski said the nonpartisan seating arrangements for the president's State of the Union Address was a good start and more than a symbolic gesture. He sat with newly elected Republican Robert Dold from the 10th District.
"Whoever the president is, it becomes a 'rah, rah' speech. I get tired of standing up and sitting down," Lipinski said and laughed. "It was a little more subdued this time. People were more thoughtful and careful of what they were jumping up and cheering for.
"When you spend time with someone you don't normally take the time to talk to, you get a better understanding of each other."
Lipinski predicted less government spending in the next two years, additional budget cuts and fewer major government policy changes, leading to a more stable business environment.
"There's no question we need to get out debt under control," he said. "The most important thing is to create a climate that helps with job creation. If we can get consumers more confident, things will get better as people buy more."
Lipinski urged renewed support for transportation projects, not just as additional spending, but as an investment in the future.
"It's important to fund improvements for roads, public transportation and railroads," he said. "That will help put people to work and also have a top-notch transportation system.
"If you're in business and produce goods, you want to be able to efficiently move them."
La Grange Village President Liz Asperger said she's pleased with how well Lipinski represents the 3rd District.
"Whether it's a Democratic or Republican proposal, he examines it, takes it to the district for feedback and votes on it as a reflection of what he has heard from the people he represents," Asperger said. "He does it well."
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