It appears that U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling (R-Colona) is taking his cues from Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney when it comes to the public outcry surrounding Sensata Technologies' plan to close down the plant and ship 170 jobs to China — just ignore it.
At a town hall meeting yesterday, Schilling couldn't take the heat when Sensata workers showed up to discuss the issue, so he ran out of the kitchen — or in this case the meeting.
When Tom Gaulrapp, one of the workers set to lose his job after working at the Bain Capital-owned company for 33 years, asked Schilling if he would support a bill that would offer companies tax incentives for bringing overseas jobs back to the U.S. and also close loopholes that allow corporations to ship American jobs overseas, like the Bring American Jobs Home Act, Schilling refused to answer and walked out of the meeting. But his campaign manager Terry Schilling essentially answered the question for the congressman by saying, "He said no. He does not support the bill."
Take a look at the chaotic scene from the town hall meeting in Freeport, IL, where the Sensata plant is located:
Schilling's Democratic opponent in the 17th district congressional race, Cheri Bustos, supports the bill, according to her campaign, and finds the congressman's behavior and response, or lack thereof, to his constituents' cries for an answer to be "a stunning display of disrespect."
“It is absolutely inexcusable for Congressman Schilling to walk out on Freeport workers when he supports the failed policies that are costing them their jobs,” said Bustos' campaign manager Allison Jaslow. “Congressman Schilling has spent more than any other member of Congress on taxpayer-funded mailings to help him keep his job, but when he has to face simple questions about his record of giving tax breaks to companies that outsource jobs, Congressman Schilling walks out.”
Bustos' campaign points out that while Schilling refuses to respond to or help his constituents who are set to lose their jobs, he is more than willing to spend taxpayer money to ensure that he keeps his job. Schilling was recently ranked as the top congressional spender, using $446,000 in taxpayer money to send out more than 1.1 million flyers to residents in the 17th district over the last two years.
“Congressman Schilling has the wrong priorities - he has no problem spending our money in an effort to keep his job while at the same time voting to send good-paying Illinois jobs overseas,” Jaslow said.
To find out more about the fight to save the Freeport Sensata jobs or to sign their petition, click here. As we previously reported, the workers have set up camp outside the plant and are still living there in hopes of getting Romney's help or attention, which they have been trying to do for months, and to illustrate what they say is the Republican candidate's vision for the country.
UPDATE 1 (9/20/12 10:15 a.m.): Here is a longer version of the interaction between Schilling and the Sensata worker looking to get the congressman to answer whether or not he would support legislation that would bring U.S. jobs back to the states and discourage offshoring. This video is courtesy of the Schilling4Congress Youtube channel:
The first video in this story is provided by Bainport.com, as seen in the link provided.