Illinois Focus: Democratic Accomplishments Highlighted by Bill Foster
In his gracious goodbye message, he highlights some key accomplishments made by Democrats in his years in Congress, all accomplishments he was a strong voice fighting for. Here is his message:
I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support during my time in Congress. These past three years have been a time of historic struggles and historic triumphs, and I'd like to say a special thank you to all the volunteers and supporters who made it possible for me to represent you during these crucial times. You put your hopes for the future in my hands - and for that I will be more grateful then I can ever express. Into our shared effort you have given your time, your treasure, and your friendship and I will never forget it.
While the end result of this last election was not what we had hoped for, I am proud of the effort we put forth. I know that we did everything we could, fought with everything we had, and we can look back on our efforts with our heads held high. And as I have told many of you, please put the campaign signs into storage rather than into the recycling bin!
We should all be proud of our accomplishments and the positive impact they have had in our country over last three years. The list of accomplishments is long:
* Emergency Economic Actions that prevented the potential disaster of second great depression – and which have successfully begun the slow and painful process of turning around an economy reeling from eight years of economic mismanagement.
* Health Care Reforms were passed to ensure that every man, woman and child in America will have access to affordable health care – free from discrimination due to pre-existing medical conditions. Seven major provisions of this bill are already successfully in place, improving medical care and lowering costs for millions of Americans, with further improvements set to take effect in the coming years.
* Wall Street Reforms put in place clear rules and basic safeguards to prevent future collapses and to ensure that our financial system works for consumers, investors and financial institutions.
* Consumer Financial Protections ended most abusive practices by credit card companies, and reigned in the abusive mortgage practices that contributed to our economic crisis.
* Veterans and Military Families were rewarded for their courage with long-overdue pay raises, improved medical care, and the GI Bill for the 21st Century that provided college and job-training for returning veterans and their families.
* Small Businesses were helped through this crisis with 16 separate tax cuts and major initiatives to spur renewed small-business lending after the financial collapse.
* Educational Opportunities were strengthened with the largest investment in student loans in our nation’s history, with modernized classrooms, and emergency investments to keep classrooms open and save teachers’ jobs during the economic downturn.
* Seniors and Medicare were protected by closing the “doughnut hole”, strengthening Medicare’s finances, and resisting continued Republican efforts to privatize Social Security and Medicare.
* Fundamental Ethics Reforms were passed and taken seriously – resulting in a cleaner congress than we have seen in decades, and one in which ethics violations were dealt with directly and fairly.
Despite this long list of achievements, it is no secret that the result of the last election was mainly about the economy. As a member of the Financial Services Committee, I had an up-close-and-personal view of both the financial collapse and the actions taken to prevent disaster and to rehabilitate our economy. One of the great ironies we’ve seen is that if one political party messes up the economy badly enough, and then passes control over to the other party, that the party that messed things up will actually benefit from their own incompetence. I’m afraid that that is what we saw in the last election. Nonetheless, I am pleased to see that by the end of my time in office we finally seem to be over the hump, with business profitability returning to record levels nationwide and unemployment in the 14th district falling every month since June – and at 8.3% and falling, already well below the 12.1% peak that followed the financial collapse. I do not regret any of the tough votes necessary to rescue our economy.
The fight to change the direction of our country will be long and hard, and will continue. And whether my path continues as a scientist, a businessman, a public servant, or simply a husband and father at home in Batavia, I will never back down on my pledge to fight for the greatness that I believe this country can achieve. And no matter what happens, I’ll still work to make you proud. My faith in democracy, in America, and in all of you, will never fade.
I, for one, will miss this voice of reason in Congress. Bill Foster is rightly proud of his accomplishments in Congress and I am sure the Republicans will have few accomplishments to brag of when their time comes.