President Bush is keeping a keen eye on manufacturing issues in Illinois this week, with a prominent role being played by NAM members. His visit to the Land of Lincoln began last night with a 60th birthday party hosted by Chicago Mayor Daley. The guest list featured state and local business leaders, including NAM Board Member Greg Baise, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, and past chairman of the Conference of State Manufacturing Associations. We’re guessing the evening was light on policy discussions, what with birthday cake, singing and good food. (The President’s menu at the Firehouse restaurant: Filet Oscar, topped with crabmeat, asparagus and Bearnaise sauce. Ahhh.) Still, it’s great to see Greg at the table…literally. Congrats.
Today the President will emphasize manufacturing and competitiveness when he visits Cabot Microelectronics Corp. in Aurora, Ill. (Story here.) Cabot is the world leader in production of polishing compounds used to manufacture advanced semiconductors, as well as being a great NAM member. President Bush will promote the American Competitiveness Initiative, the far-reaching program to encourage investment in science, technology and education, the priorities needed to keep this country — and its manufacturers — competitive globally. It’s a critical agenda for the economy, one the NAM strongly supports, and we appreciate the President keeping the Competitiveness Intiative on the top of this nation’s to-do list. Congress should do the same.