TMA Members connect with State Lawmakers

SCHAUMBURG – State lawmakers are urging TMA members to invite them to tour their businesses, and TMA members are obliging.

“Invite your state lawmakers to visit your companies,” said State Rep. Dan Ugaste of Geneva, IL, during TMA’s Legislator Connect virtual briefing in mid-March.

Ugaste’s comments reflected what TMA members heard from State Rep. Toni McCombie during a similar virtual briefing for TMA members in late January.

State lawmakers urge manufacturers to open their doors

“…Get your legislator in your building. You let them tour your building. Let them see the faces of the people that are working. You talk to them about tax policy,” McCombie said. “We have a lot of folks [in the legislature] that have not worked in a manufacturing setting, don’t understand a manufacturing setting. They don’t understand the high cost of workers comp and property taxes…

“So if you want to educate us in the House and the Senate, get [lawmakers] in your doors and explain what’s going on. Let them see the faces of the people that may not have a job because of policy we pass,” she said.

Both members of TMA’s new Small and Midsized Manufacturing Caucus, Ugaste and McCombie said they’re pleased to represent TMA members that have businesses in their districts.

While Ugaste and McCombie each said they were not optimistic about legislation being considered in the Illinois General Assembly and how it could affect TMA members, they were pleased that the SaMM Caucus was forming – and that members from both Democrat and Republican parties were joining the effort.

“It will make a difference to the SaMM Caucus as more and more lawmakers go on-site to visit with TMA members,” said TMA’s lobbyist David Curtin.

TMA members host state lawmaker visits

Over the past two months, members of the General Assembly from both political parties have taken time to visit with TMA members in their districts.

In March, TMA 2023 Board Chairman Nicole Wolter hosted State Senator Dan McConchie at her Waukegan-located HM Manufacturing, Inc.  Senator McConchie and Wolter discussed the senator’s interests in manufacturing, engineering and designing. They talked about issues pertinent to local manufacturing, including the need for skilled team members and ongoing supply chain challenges.

Louvers International CEO Derek Wall and his brother, company president Devin Wall provided a tour of their Elmhurst-based compay to State Senator Suzy Glowiak Hilton (D-Oakbrook Terrace) and State Rep. Jenn Ladish Douglas (D-Westmont), who were both interested in hearing about the creative lighting and air purification products Louver International creates, as well as the process and challenges they face during production.

In late March, Laystrom Manufacturing in Chicago,Illinois hosted their district’s State Rep. Eva Dina Delgado (D-Chicago). Jeff Dec, president of Laystrom, Gonzalo Tinajero, plant manager and Smiljka Gavranovic, Laystrom’s controller, shared with Rep. Delgado the successes and the challenges they face in their business.

TMA members agree lawmaker visits are valuable

The TMA members participating in TMA’s Legislator Connect program agreed that it was worthwhile to invite legislators into their businesses to talk about what their businesses do, and how their companies contribute to the communities the lawmakers represent in Springfield.

They agreed that while big manufacturing corporations are important and provide lots of specialized work for their companies, it is good to let lawmakers see firsthand how the policies they’re supporting at the State Capitol affect TMA members’ small and midsized companies.

TMA’s Legislator Connect program offers to schedule and help organize a visit from state lawmakers. Drop a note to info@ and ask for more information about a Legislator Connect visit. The TMA Advocacy Team will get to work to make the arrangements.

From TMA News Bulletin, March/April 2023. By Fran Eaton, TMA News Bulletin editor/writer.