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Freeport layoffs inspire outsourcing debate

Jacquilyn Stephens

Workers at a Freeport company that’s slated to move jobs overseas got support from Governor Pat Quinn Thursday. Their also inspiring talk of a hosting a debate on outsourcing.

175 workers at Sensata Technologies were told last year their jobs making electronic sensors would be moved to China: some even trained their replacements.

Quinn rallied with sign-waving Sensata employees: he also used the opportunity to press for support of the “Bring Jobs Home Act.”

We shouldn’t use the federal tax codes to subsidize companies and CEOs that are moving jobs from America and Illinois to overseas. This is wrong. We’ve gotta stop it.

The Senate rejected the “Bring Jobs Home Act” last week. Some Sensata employees have called on Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney to intervene, since he used to run Sensata’s parent company, Bain Capital. This has also sparked a special request of the presidential candidates by Freeport officials.

Freeport mayor George Gaulrapp says it’s time another great debate took place in his city. 154 years ago, Freeport was one of the sites where Senate hopeful Abraham Lincoln debated incumbent Senator Stephen Douglas. They focused heavily on slavery. This time, the focus of a debate between President Obama and Governor Romney would be American jobs. He says the two should feel comfortable debating in Freeport: it’s not an ambush, it’s a debate on how to end outsourcing and create jobs in the U.S. It would be about how to be competitive in global markets.

Freeport’s Community Development Director Shelly Griswold says balancing wealth creation with job creation is an important issue.

What’s happening in Freeport is happening all over our country. And Freeport would be a great place for the candidates to come and discuss this very issue, about how we make the United States more competitive in the global market for jobs.

On-line petitions have been circulating in support of a Freeport debate, but it doesn’t look likely. Three presidential debate sites have been announced: Kentucky, Florida, and New York…NOT Freeport, Illinois.

Susan is an award-winning reporter/writer at her favorite radio station. She's also WNIJ's Perspectives editor, Under Rocks contributor, and local host of All Things Considered.