We have a different way of life in this part of Illinois—a way of life based on hard work, family, and responsibility. But when jobs and economic opportunities leave, our kids and young families will follow.

If the next generation is forced to go somewhere else to find opportunity, our way of life will cease to exist.

I am fighting to keep our community and our way of life alive with innovative economic proposals to create good-paying jobs in growing industries like advanced manufacturing, renewable energy, and medical care.

A lot of the jobs have left over the years, but the work ethic in our community never did. Some of the jobs have come back, but many still haven’t. We all know people with some of these jobs who are still struggling to make ends meet. What we need is the opportunity to work hard for a fair wage.

But these economic opportunities that we need aren’t just about money, they’re about a middle-class way of life: hard work, family, and a responsibility to look out for each other.

That way of life is worth fighting for.