One of Ideas in Motion Media’s earliest supporters returned to the Great News Studio when Congressman Pete Visclosky joined IIMM Publisher Chris Mahlmann for a wide-ranging video interview touching on his stance on protecting steel, the West Lake Corridor expansion, and summer living in Northwest Indiana.
After welcoming him, the topic of steel comes up, one important to thousands in the region. In fact, Visclosky goes as far as to say steel, combined with oil, are the foundation of the Northwest Indiana economy.
One of the major aspects that is limiting the growth of the steel industry, as Visclosky notes, is the illegal trade of steel he is battling. With recent policies passed and some still in motion, there are people in Congress making sure that steel is being made and used - especially for national defense purposes - in the United States.
“What we need to do now is to keep pressure on the administration to use not only existing tools, but these new [policies],” explained Visclosky. “You have to keep pressure on this administration - along with previous administrations and future administrations. Enforce the laws.”
The topic then shifts to the West Lake Corridor extension of the South Shore Line, which opens up access to a direct line to Chicago to middle and southern Lake County.
We now will have a date in October as far as the next milestone, where the environmental assessment will be completed on the first part of the expansion,” explained Visclosky. “It will be from Hammond to Dyer for the first tranche. [The report will be] Indicating exactly where that line will be, how it will be connecting to the existing line, and where the stations will be. That is October of this year, so things are moving.”
Why has there been such a push to make progress on the South Shore expansion? Economic growth in the region - and the type of growth that will allow each community to dictate what that means for them.
“In Northwest Indiana each community - and this is the beautiful thing about [the expansion] can decide on what they want that growth to look like,” said Visclosky. “Maybe Munster - and I am just theorizing - wants a vertical, urban downtown. Maybe Valparaiso - with the university atmosphere - wants something much different for their community. They get to decide, but they’ll have growth and they’ll have opportunities they don’t have today.”
And it wouldn’t be an interview with Congressman Visclosky without sharing some of his summer favorites in the region. From Pierogi Festival to corn roasts, there’s always something to do in Northwest Indiana during the summer.
“For all of the international diversity in Washington D.C., I come back for my barbeque lamb and my pierogis,” he said. “My father is 100 years old and on a Friday, I’ll take dad over and if we can’t quite make it, I’ll take them to dad.”
For the full interview, check out this conversation as a podcast on Soundcloud, and check out the highlight video below.