Around 170 people came out to the McLean County Chamber of Commerce’s “The State of Congress” to speak with local United State Representatives.
“It’s so important for our business community to meet with the legislators at every level because there are so many issues that impact the business community so to give our members an opportunity to voice their concerns to those who represent them,” McLean County Chamber of Commerce Manager of Government and Public Affairs said.
Republican Representatives Darlin LaHood and Rodney Davis spoke on issues such as the state legalizing recreational marijuana and the ongoing trade war with China. Davis said ratifying the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement would offset the trade war.
“My fear is the longer the USMCA sits in the house of representatives that there is no incentive for countries likes China to come to the table and negotiate with our administration,” he explained.
While LaHood told those in attendance the agreement will help them specifically.
“I look at jobs in Central and West Central Illinois many of them are tied to trade. Whether it’s agriculture, whether it’s financial services, whether it’s manufacturing. Forty percent of the products we grow, produce or manufacture in Illinois go to Canada or Mexico. We need to get this agreement passed,” LaHood explained.
The topic of the state’s minimum wage increase was also touched on as the representatives were asked if they thought the federal government would also increase it.
“I was a bit frustrated having a district as I do and I think Rodney feels the same that the state raised it without putting exceptions in for smaller communities,” LaHood said referring to the impact the change could have on Central Illinois cities.
This event was part of a four-part series hosted by the chamber of commerce. The next one will be called “The State of Bloomington-Normal” during which Twin-Cities mayors and city managers will answer questions.