Business & Economy
Populist Caucus Applauds President Obama’s Decision to Open Strategic Petroleum Reserve PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Alexandra Krasov   
Friday, 24 June 2011 12:22
Washington, D.C. – Today, the leadership of the Populist Caucus applauded President Obama’s decision to open the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The president’s decision comes almost a month after the Populist Caucus called on him to open the Reserve and bring relief to millions of Americans who are faced with sky-rocketing gas prices. 

Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01), Chair of the Populist Caucus, said:

"As the Populist Caucus made clear last month, opening the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is a huge step towards bringing down gas prices and providing relief to millions of hard-working families that are struggling to make ends meet. I’m glad the President took this action. But we all know this is a temporary solution and more must be done to stop greedy oil speculators from driving up prices throughout the summer. That’s why the Populist Caucus will continue to work to implement its "Gas Is Too Damn High" platform to bring down gas prices for middle class families and all Americans."

Congressman Peter DeFazio (OR-04), Vice Chair of the Populist Caucus, said:

"This is good news for American consumers and bad news for speculators on Wall Street. Over 70 cents per gallon of gas is a direct result of excessive Wall Street speculation. The release of this oil undermines speculative trading and brings some relief to middle class families at the pump. This is a good first step, but more must be done to stabilize prices and rein in speculators gaming the system."

Congresswoman Donna Edwards (MD-04), ViceChair of the Populist Caucus, said:

"I applaud President Obama’s decision to open the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and relieve some of the financial burden caused by high gas prices. This is the first of three steps outlined by the Populist Caucus. Now, we must focus on ending greedy oil speculation and tax breaks for big oil companies. American families deserve to pay a fair price at the pump, and the Populist Caucus will continue to urge our Congressional colleagues and the President to join us in meeting this goal."

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Vice Chair of the Populist Caucus, said:

"I am very pleased with the President’s decision to release some of oil held in our Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). This move will help calm the markets by making it clear that we do not have a supply problem—and will help to curb the undue speculation that has been driving the price of oil higher and higher. With the Republican budget cuts to the Commodity FuturesTrading Commission (CFTC), which could regulate unfair speculation if fully funded, the President’s action is critical. Releasing oil from the SPR will help to protect American consumers at the pump, and I will continue to work with mycolleagues and the President to lower the cost of gas."

Congresswoman Betty Sutton (OH-13), Vice Chair of the Populist Caucus, said:

"No family should have to choose between filling up their tank or putting food on the table. I applaud President Obama for taking this bold action that will ease the burden facing Ohio families and help Ohio businesses put people back to work.


Braley Statement on Deficit Talks PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Alexandra Krasov   
Friday, 24 June 2011 12:21
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) released the following statement on the potential breakdown in budget talks between Congress and the White House:

"Last November, Americans spoke loud and clear: they wanted Congress to work with the President to create jobs, reduce the deficit and grow our economy. Now that Republicans are in control of the House, it’s time for them to show leadership on these issues and work with the President and theSenate to get this done. Today, I was very disappointed to hear that Eric Cantor is dropping out of the budget talks and I sincerely hope my Republican colleagues in the House will find a way to lead on this issue. We can’t afford to put our veterans, our seniors and our entire economy in jeopardy because a few members of Congress don’t want to do the work they were sent here to do."


Governor Quinn Statement on Capital Bill Passage PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Laurel White   
Wednesday, 22 June 2011 15:51

SPRINGFIELD – June 22, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today released a statement regarding the passage of the Illinois Jobs Now!  capital program re-authorization.

“The General Assembly took action today to keep the state’s biggest economic recovery program going, ensuring that thousands of workers stay on the job. Today’s session was about jobs and capital, and I thank the legislative leaders and members of the General Assembly for passing a 12-month capital appropriations bill as I had asked of them.

“A capital construction program was one of the first priorities of my administration, and it is a key component of my plan to bring jobs and economic recovery to Illinois. The plan is Illinois’ first capital program in more than a decade and it is expected to create more than 439,000 jobs over six years.”


Cooperatives Provide Valuable Lessons for Young Entrepreneurs PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Joy Venhorst   
Wednesday, 22 June 2011 14:58

AMES, Iowa -- Some people see cooperatives as the way electricity gets to their rural home, or how local crops get from grain bins to the market, or the way to buy fresh, locally grown foods. Some people call cooperatives a business model,but college students and graduates who have had experiences with cooperatives see them as a way to gain valuable work experiences, scholarships and the means to addressing community needs.

Members benefit
Mingwei Huang, Director of Education and Training at North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO), lived in a housing co-op as a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The housing co-op was not only a beneficial living situation, it was also an educational experience.

“My co-op was in the heart of campus, but was not entirely a student co-op,” Huang said. “In fact, it was about half student and half community and workers. This was very grounding for me since it's easy for students to live in a bubble. I learned a lot and developed many great relationships while living with so many great, interesting people.”
In fact, skills like basic budgeting, communication, handling conflict, minor maintenance and accountability were skills she learned while living in the housing co-op that remain valuable to her today.

Member ownership and control
A housing co-op is significantly different from an apartment building, rental house or sorority or fraternity. As a member-owner, each resident contributes to the house labor and has a say in how it’s run and managed. Huang used her time in a housing co-op to become involved on its board as vice president and in member education. These responsibilities gave her leadership experience, in addition to teaching her about collaboration, democracy and accountability.

“In our society, we are taught to think and act independently or in our own interests,” she said. “We tend to organize our relations with others as sole independent people rather than interdependent groups and networks.”

The ability for any cooperative to succeed depends on a collective effort, which Huang says is accomplished through healthy communication and navigation of power dynamics. These skills can carry over into the personal and professional realms.

Huang’s experience with her housing co-op demonstrate three principles that are widely recognized and practiced by cooperatives: member benefits, member ownership and member control. According to, an educational partnership of 74 land-grant universities, these principles distinguish a cooperative from other kinds of businesses. The member-benefits principle is carried out when members unite to produce services otherwise not available, gain access to markets, or other mutually beneficial reasons. The member-owner principle is simple; members own the cooperative and have the financial and operational obligations and rewards of an owner. The member-control principle is exercised when members vote at membership meetings and serve on the board of directors.

Jesse Martin applies cooperative principles to the daily operations of Martin’s Native Lumber of Dayton, Va., even though the business is a private, fourth-generation, family-owned business.

Communicating through one-on-one employee meetings and offering profit-sharing retirement portfolios are two practices Martin applies that reflect the cooperative business model.

“Cooperative education has allowed me to consider the world of business with a far more open mind,” Martinsaid. “Often, I approach items in my own business with principles learned through the co-op education programs. I have found that if we think of our customers as owners and having a vested interest in our company, that we provide higher quality service.”

Martin became involved with cooperatives after attending a conference during college and later becoming selected as the National Institute of Cooperative Education’s chairman. The National Institute on Cooperative Education (NICE) is a youth scholar program that provides educational and social activities. The goals of the institute include increasing the understanding of basic cooperative principles, the challenges faced by cooperatives and the opportunities provided by cooperatives.

Expanding cooperative education
A leadership team made up of university faculty and researchers has created the eXtension Cooperative Community of Practice to increase the visibility of the cooperative business model with information they contribute to the website.

Leah Henkes, an Iowa State University senior in dairy science, contributed to the development of the cooperatives one Xtension website during her initial involvement with cooperatives.

“I think it is extremely beneficial for young people to learn about the cooperative business model because it gives them the chance to help network their abilities and resources,” Henkes said. “By working with others to accomplish a goal it is easier to reach that goal.”

Three Iowa State University students from Ron Deiter’s Cooperatives class had the opportunity to attend the 2011 College Conference on Cooperatives (CCOC), a three-day program offered by the National Farmers Union (NFU) and the cooperative community of the upper Midwest on Feb. 19-21. The conference helps college students gain a more thorough understanding of cooperatives and the career opportunities available. It exposes attendees to the many areas of the economy stimulated by cooperatives – beyond agriculture.

Students wanting to be more engaged with local cooperatives, thinking of starting a cooperative, or wanting a better understanding of the responsibilities of a board member, can explore the resources available at the eXtension Cooperatives Community of Practice website. Leadership programs, local job opportunities, scholarships and careers offered by cooperatives are featured on the site.


Governor Quinn Kicks-Off Illinois Export Week PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Andrew Mason   
Tuesday, 21 June 2011 13:29

Reaffirms Commitment to Doubling State’s Exports by 2015;

Presents 2011 Illinois Export Awards

CHICAGO – June 21, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today reaffirmed his commitment to doubling Illinois’ exports by 2015 during an address to kick off Illinois Export Week, a five-day event that helps Illinois businesses expand into the global marketplace. The Governor also presented the 2011 Illinois Export Awards.

"More than half a million Illinois jobs are supported by exports, but we cannot stop now. Our state’s continued economic vitality depends on our ability to build key global partnerships," said Governor Quinn. "To continue to grow and lead in the 21st century, we must continue to take every step necessary to increase our exports, ultimately doubling them by 2015.”

Expanding global trade partnerships is critical to Illinois' continued economic recovery. Illinois ranks first in the Midwest for exports and foreign direct investment. The state’s exports totaled nearly $49.8 billion in 2010, a 19.6 percent increase over 2009. In the first quarter of 2011, Illinois exported more than $14.74 billion worth of non-agriculture goods - an increase of 30.43 percent compared to the same period in 2010.

Illinois Export Week, which runs June 20-24, features a series of seminars designed to help educate business owners on export opportunities. The Illinois Export Awards recognize companies that have achieved excellence in exporting and organizations that have provided substantial export assistance to Illinois companies. Governor Quinn presented 17 companies and organizations with awards at a luncheon on Tuesday. A list of 2011 Illinois Export Award winners is attached.

Illinois Export Week events feature top leaders from Illinois’s export business community. Caterpillar Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Doug Oberhelman was the keynote speaker.

"Last year Caterpillar exported more than $13.4 billion in products from the United States—more than a third of that is from Illinois — two figures that would have no doubt been higher had the U.S. fully embraced trade liberalization," Oberhelman said. "Simply put, many of our 47,000 employees in the U.S. and 23,000 employees in Illinois depend on trade.”

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is partnering with local Small Business Development Centers this week to provide businesses with insight into export opportunities around the world. Information is available at


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