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Job creation a top issue in 11th Congressional race

How to create jobs in a sluggish economy is a top issue in the race for the 11th Congressional District.

The race pits U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert, R-Hinsdale, against Democrat Bill Foster. From 2008 to 2011, Foster represented Illinois’ 14th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Foster was defeated in November 2010 by then-state Sen. Randy Hultgren, a Republican from Winfield.

The newly drawn 11th District includes North Aurora, Aurora, Naperville, Lisle and Joliet.

Biggert said she was concerned about the barriers that prevent businesses from expanding, especially small businesses. She said President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul has put a burden on small-business expansion.

As part of the legislation, companies with at least 50 full-time employees must start providing insurance to their staff in 2014. Those who don’t are subject to fines.

Foster said the U.S. needs to continue policies to strengthen U.S. manufacturing.

“I’m a manufacturer,” Foster said. “I understand what is takes to make good manufacturing jobs.”

He also said the middle class must be protected.

“I think this is a very important election for the middle class in this country,” Foster said. “A country does better when its middle class prospers.”

Biggert and Foster agree something must be done to bring down the $16 trillion national debt. Foster blamed Biggert and the Republican Party for driving up the deficit.

“My opponent was a party-line supporter for all of George W. Bush’s policies that took a government that was running a surplus and turned it into the biggest deficit that we’ve seen,” Foster said.

Biggert said spending cuts must come first in any deficit-reducing effort.

“The main thing is that we’ve got to cut the spending and not raise taxes, and really have a budget that we can rely on,” Biggert said.

“There hasn’t been a budget passed by the U.S. Senate in over three years.”

She voiced concerns about the nearly $500 billion in tax hikes and spending cuts set to automatically go into effect in January.

“We’re going to have the biggest tax increase in history on Jan. 2 if we don’t do something about it,” Biggert said.

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