Lake County’s congressional reps join Heartland Caucus to ‘provide a unified

With more money leaving Illinois through taxes than returning in benefits, and the Great Lakes providing 20% of the world’s surface water, the four members of Congress representing parts of Lake County have become part of a new caucus designed to bring attention and resources to the region.

U.S. Reps. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, Mike Quigley, D-Chicago, Jan Schakowsky, D-Evanston, and Brad Schneider, D-Highland Park, are part of the newly formed Heartland Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives, in hopes of getting greater attention for the issues of interest to the Midwest and Great Lakes region.

“We have to have a strong voice,” Schneider said. “We should always have a strong voice. Effective leadership is finding a way to get things done. It’s what many of our colleagues are doing. It’s about elevating the heartland.”

Congressman Brad Schneider speaks during a community event at the Vernon Township Community Center, October 15, 2022. (Brian O'Mahoney for the Pioneer Press)

“That means ensuring the Midwest is represented when crafting consequential legislation that will determine the future of our nation,” Quigley added in an email, referring to the purpose of the caucus.

The Heartland Caucus was started by U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., in late January in Washington to “underscore” the contributions of a region heavy with agriculture and manufacturing.

With Democratic congressional leadership concentrated on the East and West Coasts, Schakowsky said Midwestern representatives — all members of the Illinois Democratic Delegation joined — must highlight the area.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., speaks at a rally to call on the National Archivist to publish the Equal Rights Amendment as an amendment in the Constitution, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

“We are not a flyover zone,” Schakowsky said. “This is a place where we grow things and make things. We have tremendous educational institutions doing research. We have good jobs. We’re a very unionized region.”

Quigley also stressed the Midwest is not a flyover zone, echoing Schakowsky’s belief it is a strong industrial area which provides resources to the country and world. He said in the email the caucus will “provide a unified voice to express the importance and needs of the Midwest.”

U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley talks about the election voting equipment and the importance of being an election judge with media, during a polling place training session at Block 37 at State St., in Chicago, Monday, Feb. 4, 2019.  (Antonio Perez/ Chicago Tribune)

“One of the priorities of this caucus will be ensuring the Midwest continues to be an economic driver for our country,” Quigley said in the email. “Pushing for investments to come back to the Midwest will provide economic support for local communities, including Lake County.”

Schneider said bringing investment to the area and particularly to Lake County can help drive the life sciences companies headquartered here like Abbott, AbbVie, Baxter International and more to help…

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