Khouri releases Candidate Free Time video on PBS station, online
Tonia Khouri, the Republican candidate for the District 11 U.S. House seat, recently recorded a two-minute Candidate Free Time video on WTTW in which she spoke about her campaign's focus on the economy, national security and primarily helping people out of poverty.
"In addition to growing our economy and focusing on national security, I'm focusing on helping Americans break free from poverty," Khouri said. "Right now, one in five children is living in poverty in our nation today, and as a mom of three kids, it breaks my heart. So as chairman of economic development on the DuPage County Board, my committee passed an initiative that recruits and trains unemployed and underemployed individuals and then places them into full-time employment in manufacturing. But the best part of this story is that the first two graduates from this program came from DuPagePads, our local homeless shelter. Lamont and Tiffany were homeless a year ago and are now fully employed in manufacturing."
Moving people out of poverty is a team effort. In DuPage County, the economic development committee partners with DuPagePads. More than just a homeless shelter, the organization assists with temporary shelter, employment support, life coaching and case management.
"Our nation is great not because of our welfare programs, but because of our free enterprise system, which translates to more jobs and better opportunities for everyone, regardless of their background," Khouri said on social media.
In Illinois, however, employment is a serious issue. The state did not recover from the 2007-09 Great Recession as quickly as its neighbors. While Indiana and Michigan show job growth, Illinois is still losing jobs and skilled workers.
The state continues to lose residents at a staggering rate. Illinois lost a net of 700,000 people in the last 10 years. The primary reasons cited are taxes, jobs and the economy. Last year, the state lost 105,000 people, the highest exodus on record.
The continuing loss of jobs in Illinois is a driving factor in the exodus. The onerous business regulations and high taxes send businesses looking for a more business-friendly climate in neighboring states. Illinois lost 4,400 manufacturing jobs and a total of 8,200 jobs in August.
In DuPage County, the Economic Development Committee has taken an active role in promoting economic growth. As chair, Khouri assisted in the creation of the Metro West Manufacturing Workforce Collaboration to connect unemployed and underemployed residents with living-wage jobs. The candidates receive free training for skilled manufacturing jobs. The training is provided through private and public partnerships.
"I'm proud that DuPage County was named one of the best counties in the country for upward mobility, and I intend to take this mission of defeating poverty with me when I'm elected to Congress," Khouri said.
Khouri was elected to the DuPage County Board in 2012 and re-elected in 2014 with more than 61 percent of the vote. Her experience in local government and as a small-business owner will help her focus on her goals of economic growth and helping the poor while in Congress.
Her motto is: "Locally focused – Globally aware." While in Congress, she pledged to stay focused on the issues that face the 11th Congressional District.
"Americans deserve the opportunity to work so that they can provide for their families," Khouri said in August. "There is a better life beyond U.S. welfare programs that is waiting for Americans all across this nation. We need to elect leaders who will give them the tools to get there."