Scott Summers Weighs in on Employment

16th congressional district Green Party candidate Scott Summers has posted this on his blog,

I thought you who want to follow the 16th congressional district campaign might be interested.


The numbers are in for April 2008 — and they aren’t pretty.

Unemployment is up — up sharply — in all of the counties that comprise, in whole or part, our Congressional District.

At 8.1%, Boone has the second worst rate in the state. Ogle and Winnebago are ninth and tenth worst, at 7%.

Statewide? 5.4%. Nationally? 5.0%. (See

We’re falling behind, friends. And my opponents simply don’t have any good ideas about what to do — except maybe throw more of our tax dollars around, and try a few things at the margins.

The traditional top-down “solutions” — grants and tax breaks and other incentives for companies large and small — simply aren’t working. Our good jobs just keep melting away.

I say: let’s change the fundamentals.

Instead of trying to boost the economy from the top-down — let’s do it from the bottom-up.

Let’s empower our families and neighbors and friends.

Let’s raise up a whole new generation of capitalists. A whole new breed of capitalists.

I call them “microcapitalists”.

It was the hard-working, bootstrapping, decent folks of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries who, one at a time, put their hearts and their hands and their backs and their sweat into the nation’s work, and made America an economic powerhouse.

We can do it again.

I propose a program of microloans and microgrants for home-based and community-based businesses.

Let’s jump-start this with jobs and management training through our high schools and community colleges.

Add a volunteer corps of accountants and lawyers and bankers and retired executives to serve as coaches.

Offer reduced rents in “business incubators” — shared office or shop floor space, with pooled administrative staff and office equipment.

The microcapitalist program will be rigorous. And it will not be for everybody: not all of us are cut out to be business owners and managers.

But it’s a bright new way of reinvigorating our communities, and creating new jobs.

The coaching teams will help develop business plans as a requirement for receiving microloan and microgrant consideration. And the coaches will guide the microcapitalists, and help them succeed.

These businesses can be anything that demonstrably serves a community need: a bed and breakfast, a beauty salon, a bakery, or a bicycle business. A software startup. Community agriculture. Specialty manufactured items that fill niches, shipped to the nation and even the world.

Let’s create work. Let’s create businesses and jobs. Let’s give one another the dignity of work.

And let’s do it together, at the grass roots — in our neighborhoods and in our communities and on our farms.

Do you know what else?

Home-grown jobs, and home-grown businesses, are ours to keep. They won’t be outsourced.

Friends, this is how I will perform as your Congressman.

I offer hearts-and-hands solutions.

Here is my heart. Give me your hands.

Most truly yours,


Summers is running against Republican incumbent Don Manzullo and Democratic Party challenger Robert Abboud.

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