Dispatch Argus: Duckworth touts support for manufacturing

U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Schaumburg, a U.S. Senate candidate, told a group of Quad-Cities women Tuesday that she’ll work to reward businesses that keep jobs in the U.S. and contract with women-owned businesses.

Accompanied by U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Moline, Rep. Duckworth addressed a roundtable of 14 businesswomen as well as women elected officials, educators and others in a Quad-Cities stop that also included a Rock Island fundraiser.

Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives four years ago, Rep. Duckworth now is seeking to unseat Republican incumbent Sen. Mark Kirk and, in so doing, possibly help Democrats reclaim the Senate majority.

The race is considered one Democrats have a strong chance to win. Rep. Bustos, the downstate campaign chairwoman for Rep. Duckworth, has worked with her on legislation such as a defense authorization amendment last year to increase the workload at arsenals such as the Rock Island Arsenal.

Rep. Duckworth said supporting manufacturing has been a “cornerstone” of her work in the House and would be in the Senate. She said she’d like to push for a federal infrastructure bill to improve highways, locks and dams and other projects. The work also should be open for multiple local contractors, hiring local people, she said.

“And if we’re gong to do that — and those are federal dollars coming into the state — we need to put in safeguards that require those contracts to have a certain percentage of woman-owned and minority-owned businesses competing for those projects,” Rep. Duckworth said. “That’s going to take me in the Senate, Cheri in the House, and you folks at the local level.”

Rep. Duckworth also advocated tax breaks and incentives for companies that keep jobs — and profits — in the U.S.

“If we’re going to do that for the big boys, then we need to do it for small- and medium-sized entrepreneurial businesses,” she said. “They’re the ones taking the risks, taking the chances.”

Rep. Bustos said bringing corporate profits home would help fund infrastructure projects.

“We have corporations that have more than $2 trillion in profits sitting overseas that they’re not bringing home,” Rep. Bustos said. “There’s a piece of legislation that would actually incentivize the companies to bring that home, and use that for infrastructure projects.”

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