State of the Union

President Barack Obama returned to the House Chamber to address Congress for his fifth state of the union with an agenda for his second term. The economy was front and center as the President laid out what’s most important.

“A growing economy that creates good, middle-class jobs – that must be the North Star that guides our efforts,” said the President. “Every day, we should ask ourselves three questions as a nation: How do we attract more jobs to our shores? How do we equip our people with the skills needed to do those jobs? And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living?”

Area business leaders are hoping Congress will heed the President’s advice and continue to enact policies that keep the economy moving forward.

“It seems like there’s a lot of stimulus in the state of the union address this year again,” says Naperville Development Partnership Chairman Scott Wehrli. “Basically everything from infrastructure to job training and manufacturing hubs. All things that will continue to stimulate the economy.”

Wehrli says these are all things Naperville has been doing for years.

Though the economy is showing improvement business leaders want more assurance from the government about the future.

“When you put them in an unknown world of what the future is going to bring with the second Obama administration you see a lot of guys sitting on the sidelines waiting to see before they make the next hire or expand their business,” says Wehrli.

A lot of the uncertainty comes from Congress’ unwillingness to work together. The President hopes to bridge the divide.

“The American people don’t expect the government to solve every problem. They don’t expect those of us in this chamber to agree on every issue. But, they do expect us to put the nation’s interests before party.”

Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Mike Evans thinks the President made his point.

“I think the President did a really good job of calling Congress to action,” says Evans. “We may not always agree but we as a Chamber have always encouraged our representative in D.C. to work in a bipartisan way for years.”

Naperville’s economy holds up better than the national average. Unemployment here at home sits at six percent and our local governments don’t have big amounts of debt. Business leaders remain hopeful that Congress will continue working to keep the economy on the right path.


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