U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam took the stage at a cavernous Marengo forklift factory to make his pitch.
“The economy is a growing pie, and we want it to grow,” said the six-term Republican congressman from Wheaton who represents the 6th Congressional District – a political battleground he will defend in November.
Standing in front of a roomful of UniCarriers employees Wednesday morning, Roskam elaborated on the vision propelling his campaign.
“We want it to expand. We want opportunities. We want buoyancy. We want churn. We want sales. We want efficiencies,” he said, “and out of that, more people can participate.”
The hot center of Roskam’s campaign visit Wednesday was his support of President Donald Trump’s controversial $1.5 trillion tax cut plan that Congress sped into law in December.
Proponents of the sweeping federal tax reform say it will make individuals and businesses more prosperous. But critics – such as Roskam’s opponent, Democratic Downers Grove businessman Sean Casten – say the tax plan will enrich the wealthy and swell corporate profits while leaving ordinary people with comparatively modest tax cuts and, eventually, tax hikes.
To Casten, Trump’s tax plan serves a limited number of American voters – a detail he said has alienated voters on both sides of the aisle.
“They have become the party of corporate welfare,” Casten said.
The Democrat attacked Roskam’s standing with Trump, whose approval ratings have hovered in the 30 percent range for much of his presidency.
Only 3 in 10 Americans said the U.S. was heading in the right direction, according to a poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Roskam votes with Trump 94.1 percent of the time, according to Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog.
“Who is going to acknowledge that Donald Trump is woefully unfit to serve as president?” Casten said. “It really scares me that no one in the Republican Party is willing to do anything braver than resign from public office in response to Donald Trump.”
To Roskam, Casten’s opposition to the tax code shows he is against the lowering of taxes – a crippling factor forcing many McHenry County residents to flee for affordable living.
“I’m for lowering taxes,” Roskam said after his talk atop the UniCarriers stage. “My opponent has said he wants to repeal what this company is celebrating.”
• The Associated Press contributed to this report.