By Samantha Pidde
Herald Staff Writer
CLINTON — After touring the exterior of the LyondellBasell plant on Tuesday, U.S. Congressman Dave Loebsack spoke with the company's employees about their concerns for the government.
"It was really nice of him to take the time," Site Manager Chris Cain said.
Laughing and joking with the LyondellBasell staff, the Democrat participated in a small town-hall meeting. The country's current budget deficit, the divide between the political parties and education were discussed after questions were directed to him by plant employees.
"I think it's time for Congress to take this enterprise more seriously than it has been in the past," said Loebsack about the importance of balancing the federal budget and reducing the deficit.
Loebsack told the group that the deficit is way too much and he expects the debt to increase.
"So it's going to continue building on itself unless D.C. gets its act together," Loebsack said.
He also addressed concerns about partisanship, agreeing that rifts exist between the two parties. However, he said he tries to move things forward and bridge the gap between the two groups. A concern he expressed is a lack of confidence citizens may have in their legislators and president.
"When you start to question the system itself then I get really worried about the future of the country," Loebsack said.
The congressman was happy with Tuesday's visit with the management at LyondellBasell. He explained that meeting with these individuals at the business location is so much different than just speaking with them in Washington, D.C.
"These kinds of visits are so educational for me," Loebsak said.
LyondellBasell staff held a presentation on the business and discussed what the company does within the community. Cain told employees that Loebsack asked a great deal of questions about educational opportunities in the area relating to the business as well as plant security.
Security has been an important issue for Loebsack since even before Sept. 11, 2001. Since the terrorist attacks on that date, he is even more concerned that targetable sites, like the plant, are secure.
Loebsack also discussed the importance of education. He said community colleges are an "intersection between education and the workforce." However, he acknowledged there are a great deal of educational opportunities for people.
"However we get people trained and get the skills, I'm for that," Loebsack said.