Optimistic About Local Manufacturers

By Dan Lipinski
Southwest News-Herald
One of the most rewarding aspects of being a congressman is the opportunity to have a close-up view of the interesting products being made right here in our local communities. Over the last few weeks, I have had the privilege of working closely with many of our great manufacturers — some who have been around for decades, others who are just starting out.
I recently stopped by Archer Wire International Corp.’s Tinley Park factory, where the 57-year-old, family-owned company headquartered in Bedford Park makes facemasks for Riddell, the official football helmet of the National Football League.
I toured 5 Rabbit Cerveceria, a new brewery that opened last fall in Bedford Park. The product has been so well received, it’s now being sold at many Chipotle restaurants in the Chicago market. 
And for the second time since it opened this spring, I visited FarmedHere, a vertical, soil-free indoor farm — also in Bedford Park, and the first such facility of its kind in the nation. The company grows fresh greens and vegetables for restaurants and grocery stores throughout the area, resulting in cheaper delivery costs and fresher products. It’s an impressive operation.
Yet another welcome development involving a Bedford Park company I have worked closely with was announced last month, when Hoist Liftruck was selected for a Department of Defense contract to provide material handling equipment to the military. Back in 2011, I successfully worked on behalf of the company to force the federal government to abide by “Buy American” laws after Hoist Liftruck was unfairly bypassed by a South Korean company for another jobs-creating defense contract.
I could bring up many more examples of the successful manufacturers who have found the Third Congressional District an ideal home for starting a business, expanding on an idea and putting people to work.
In Congress, my top priority continues to be aiding job creation so that more Americans can find good jobs in this tough economy. And I believe one of the best ways to do so is by revitalizing manufacturing and making sure businesses such as Archer Wire, 5 Rabbit Cerveceria, Farmed Here, Hoist Liftruck and other up-and-coming entrepreneurs have the tools they need to succeed.
Although manufacturing has experienced some tough times in the last few years, the industry still is the foundation of our national economy, providing a critical tax base for our communities and a pathway to the middle class for American families.
To learn more about our manufacturers and the challenges they face, I make it a point to visit as many as I can to see what I can do to help them in Congress.
This year, as part of those efforts, I introduced the Customs Training Enhancement Act to crack down on foreign companies that avoid paying customs duties. The bill will help level the playing field so American manufacturers have a fairer shot against foreign competitors who are trying to undercut them while cheating taxpayers.
This summer, I introduced another bipartisan bill, the American Manufacturing Competitiveness Act, to bring together the private and public sectors to finally develop a national manufacturing strategy that creates good-paying, middle-class jobs here at home.
Very soon, I plan on reintroducing the Buy American Improvement Act to create jobs by eliminating loopholes in existing Buy American laws so that taxpayer money buys products made in the United States.
I also continue to fight against countries such as China that rig the system to give their manufacturers an unfair advantage over American companies and American workers.
American manufacturers survive because they hire good people to make quality products. Hard work and great ideas always are a tough combination to beat. But, sometimes, in today’s world, that is not enough.
As your congressman, I will continue fighting to remove the obstacles encountered by our manufacturers so we can create more jobs and enjoy more success stories in the future.
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