“Get your legislator in your building…”
That’s what House Minority Leader Tony McCombie told members of the Technology & Manufacturing Association Thursday morning during a virtual call. The Savannah-based three-term state lawmaker said inviting lawmakers to their businesses was crucial.
“Every business manufacturer that is watching this today should get your legislator in your building. You let them see the faces of the people that are working. You talk to them about tax policy,” she said during the call.
McCombie, who just became the GOP House leader earlier this month, said that visiting manufacturers in person changes perspective and opens the eyes and minds of those unfamiliar with small and midsized manufacturing.
She said that many of those proposing laws and setting policies have not worked in a manufacturing setting and don’t understand the high cost of workers comp and property taxes. Having a small or midsized manufacturer share their personal experiences can make all the difference.
“Many have never been in a small business. So if you want to educate us in the House and the Senate, get us in your doors and explain what’s going on let us see the faces of the people that may not have a job because of policy we pass [into law],” she said.
TMA Executive Vice President Dennis LaComb agreed with McCombie’s emphasis. TMA offers help to its members in setting up visits with state and local policymakers, LaComb said.
“Our developing Legislator Connection program has been good for our members and lawmakers,” he said. “We have seen firsthand the impact those visits can have on federal and state policies that affect our members.”
In addition to the Legislator Connection program, TMA is working with state lawmakers to create the Small And Midsized Manufacturing (SAMM) Caucus for the first time ever in the Illinois State Capitol. TMA’s lobbyist David Curtin has been successful in interesting both Democrats and Republicans in the effort.
Curtin, who spoke with McCombie during Thursday morning’s interview, says he is pleased with the interest from lawmakers that want to represent manufacturers in their district.
There is a difference between how small and midsized manufacturers are affected by policies as compared to the big guys,” Curtin said. “We are focused on helping those in Springfield to understand the differences, and working that our presence will make a difference.”
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