Michelle Smith knows that Illinois can do better in putting people to work
Michelle Smith, Republican Candidate for Senate District 49, said that Illinois needs to do better in terms of the state's employment numbers.
The unemployment numbers for Illinois for the month of May were recently released. On the surface, the numbers looked like progress – it shrunk from 6.6% in April to 6.4% for May. However, upon closer inspection, the numbers told another story: the workforce actually shrank.
“I think we should be doing far better,” Smith told DuPage Policy Journal. “We are at the epicenter of transportation to not just anywhere in the country but globally we a hub. Why should we celebrate being below the national levels?”
The numbers, Smith asserted, signifies that the state has work to do. Business, she said, wants to be in Illinois but the state has not made it competitive. In fact, the state has scared businesses away and has been ranked at the bottom for businesses.
The state is also losing its people.
”Too many people in this state are still out of work or gave up,” Smith said. “People are leaving the state for tax relief and job opportunities. These numbers give us the harsh reality that we are not where a state with our resources should be. There is an opportunity here and that is good. We can turn this state around. We have so much to offer.”
Turning the state around may be difficult as the budget impasse is threatening to swallow the state. It has already affected many social programs and services. Among those who are explicitly and disproportionately affected by the budget stalemate are women. Many of them are recipients of tuition grants, intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities, home visits for teen parents, and prenatal and family care management for at-risk mothers, and cancer screenings.
Smith said she has experienced first hand the affects the budget impasse has on voters through her volunteer work.
“The crisis with the women and their families in Illinois is a sad part of the standoff between Democrats and Gov. [Bruce] Rauner,” she said. “Many of the charities that I either volunteer for or have donated to have reached out for emergency fund donations because of the lack of funding from the state.”
She urged politicians to stop using the most vulnerable residents as pawns of the state.
“While I agree with the governor that we must make sure that the funding is being used appropriately, we need to find a way to stop using those who need our help the most as pawns for this political game of chicken,” Smith said. “We cannot continue to run our government this way just because we want to win elections. November is too far away to hold the most vulnerable hostage.”
Many are frustrated with legislators in Springfield, with some directing their ire at House Speaker Michael Madigan. Some have boldly alleged that the House Speaker has been ignoring the problems of the state is facing: the fragile business climate, a shrinking population and workforce, high unemployment rate, collapsing manufacturing, and high property taxes.
Smith echoed what some are saying about the speaker and Senate Leader John Cullerton: they are unconcerned about the people of the state.
“The comments by Madigan and Cullerton that the budget won't be up for a vote until after the elections in November, proves that neither of them are concerned about the people of Illinois, especially those in need,” she said. “It validates what everyone believes: that they are only concerned about keeping their power.”
She concluded by stating that the leaders of Springfield are less worried about their constituents and more about their position. She called for voters to take action and vote for change.
“If the people were their highest concern, then legislators would be back down in Springfield to get this deal done,” Smith said. “They are worried about losing seats, so they won't legislators in a spot where they either vote against the speaker or vote against the people. It is unfortunate that the people of Illinois continue to vote for legislators that allow Madigan to keep his power and play political games with the lives of the citizens of Illinois.
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