Mr. CARNAHAN. Mr. Speaker, a few weeks ago, I proposed a simple challenge to my constituents back home in St. Louis. I said: Tell me your ideas for creating more jobs and economic opportunity in 2012, and I'll compile them and not only take them back to Washington but work to turn your ideas into action.
I want to thank the over 600 Missourians I heard from, each offering many of their own commonsense solutions to help our economy continue to grow.
I want to share their message on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives today. Their message was a clear consensus that we need to invest in our infrastructure, make things here in the U.S., bring manufacturing jobs back from overseas, educate and train our workforce for 21st century opportunities, and work together for the good of the country instead of pulling our country apart at the seams.
My constituents in St. Louis are deeply concerned that our communities will be left behind in this new global economy if we don't act now, right now, without delay.
As Joseph C. expressed best: Missouri is a great State, but I'm afraid it will be left behind, and manufacturing jobs will go elsewhere.
Chris K., from St. Louis, sent me an email saying: What would help my personal economic situation and those of many others would be a greater investment in our Nation's infrastructure.
Joseph P., from St. Louis, commented: Investing in our infrastructure and educational systems will not only create jobs but will also result in long-term economic benefits for the entire Nation.
Karen M. said: We need to realize how important good carpenters, plumbers, electricians, bricklayers, secretaries, and caregivers are in the long scheme of things. We need to encourage and applaud these jobs.
As Kevin N. put it: We need to invest in infrastructure for communications and transportation because public infrastructure is the greatest catalyst for economic development.
To create jobs, Diane M. said: I have long thought that the unions and small businesses that require special skills should provide apprentice programs to students, which would give hope and possibility through real skills to thousands of students who would not be exposed to these trades otherwise.
And Christine A. echoed this sentiment by saying: I believe it could be helpful to increase job training opportunities in our high schools.
We need to pull together to create economic opportunities across this country and for the good of the country. Marilyn B. wrote to me: Personally, I'm really frustrated with both sides of the aisle not being willing to work together for the good of all.
As a Member of Congress, I pledge to work with my colleagues to see that these great ideas from America's heartland are developed further. By working together and reaching across the aisle, I'm confident we can grow jobs and economic opportunity across this country.
[Time: 11:30] I look forward to using these commonsense ideas to build a blueprint for putting our economy back on track, to turn these great ideas into action.