Loebsack talks job creation, legislation in Iowa City


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U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack vowed to push legislation to support U.S. manufacturing jobs, a measure he sponsored earlier this year but which failed to pass the Senate.

During a stop in Iowa City last week, Loebsack, D-Iowa, said job creation is his No. 1 priority.

Loebsack introduced the Strengthening Employment Clusters to Organize Regional Success Act during the last Congressional session; it focused on helping communities, small businesses, local chambers of commerce, and unions to keep manufacturing jobs.

The act unanimously passed the House but was blocked in the Senate. However, a Loebsack aide said the congressman has plans to reintroduce the legislation.

“Iowa has a strong community-college system,” Hand said. “And the act would help in educating and preparing individuals for more manufacturing jobs.”

Chris Schwartz of Working Families Win spoke about the importance of creating jobs, stressing the necessity for job creation through infrastructure planning.

“I don’t know what to tell these students who are tens of thousands of dollars in debt, graduate with their master’s to work in Starbuck’s,” Schwartz said. “We need a really aggressive infrastructure plan which puts people directly into jobs.”

Joe Hand, Loebsack’s communications director, said jobs were the congressman’s No. 1 priority and putting a big focus on manufacturing jobs, as well as closing tax loopholes that allow corporations to move overseas with no consequences, was a way to help foster job creation.

“This is about jobs,” Loebsack said. “The 2010 election was about jobs, and not enough has been done.”

Bob Anderson, the chairman of the Johnson County Republican Central Committee, agreed that not enough was being done about jobs and that jobs were also a main priority for Republicans in Congress.

However, he said, the investment should be made in the private sector instead of the “failed public sector.”

“Stimulus programs that dump money into government versus stimulating the private sector would be a continued failure,” Anderson said.

Joyce Hermanstorfer, an Alliance for Retired Americans regional board member, and fellow affiliate Norm Sterzenbach of the Linn County Democrats said the meeting was an opportunity to get more community members engaged and informed about legislative decisions and the possible cuts affecting older community members in the wake of deliberations with the supercommittee.

Congress’ supercommittee is designed to make cuts in federal spending in hopes to alleviate some of the national debt.

Sterzenbach spoke about the importance of keeping Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid solvent in the midst of possible cuts.

“As far as social-entitlement programs, in terms of Social Security and Medicare, Medicaid, no one wants to see those cut,” Anderson said.

Sterzenbach and Hand both confirmed that Social Security is incapable under law to add to the national debt.

“I am an Iowa boy,” Loebsack said. “I have two grandchildren, and the last thing I want to do is leave them a legacy of debts and deficits from decisions made by other folks.”

At the end of the meeting, he stressed the importance of voters communicating with their representatives.

“This is the time when politicians better listen to their constituents,” Loebsack said. “The most important thing is to talk to us; send us emails, send us your letters. Tell us what you want.”

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