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Pete Visclosky

U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Gary

The grass is greener in Northwest Indiana because of its people. The collaborative spirit and hard-working dedication of people are what make our region’s economic future brighter and what continues to draw new people and business activity into our area.

Because of dedicated people with vision, the expansion and recapitalization of the South Shore Line is going to be a functioning reality in the coming years. No longer is it a question of if these transformational investments are going to occur — it is only a matter of when.

Our region would not be so close to success without the bipartisan support from 15 towns and cities, the four counties of Northwest Indiana, and our state and other federal representatives. Both the West Lake expansion project and the double-track project will provide vast economic benefits by connecting our region to the Chicago economy and by stimulating new investments in good-paying jobs and transit-orientated development throughout our region.

Because of the dedicated people involved with active civic and environmental organizations, our region is making great progress to preserve and protect our environment for the enjoyment of all current residents and future generations.

Northwest Indiana is incredibly fortunate to be located next to one of the largest bodies of fresh water on the planet, and it is imperative that we do all we can to continue to restore and enhance public access to our dunes, our lands, and our wetlands.

I also am heartened that by the support of numerous active civic and environmental organizations, we have successfully renamed our Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore as a national park, which finally provides our shoreline with the recognition it deserves and further builds momentum to improve open and public access to all of our region’s environmental wonders.

Because of the dedicated people involved with labor unions and all of our workers, Northwest Indiana remains a foundational manufacturing and steel-producing region that provides essential support to our national economy and our national defense. Indiana is the highest steel-producing state in our country, and when including the whole supply chain, the Northwest Indiana steel industry supports 18,300 jobs, pays $2.15 billion in wages and contributes $16.6 billion in economic activity.

Additionally, as chairman of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee in the 116th Congress, I am well aware of the role steel plays in the production of a wide array of types of military equipment. For example, 50,000 tons of steel are used in every U.S. aircraft carrier, and half of that steel is produced right here in Northwest Indiana at the ArcelorMittal plant in Burns Harbor.

We would not have this capability without our dedicated labor unions and workers, who continue to attract people who want to relocate to our region so they can join our workforce and have great prospects for a lifelong good-paying job.

People have always been and will continue to be what makes the grass greener in Northwest Indiana. I will continue to do my best as a federal representative to recognize the dignity, value and contributions of all of our people who make the future of our region brighter.

U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Gary, represents Indiana's First Congressional District. The opinions are the writer's.

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Porter County Government Reporter

Senior reporter Doug Ross, an award-winning writer, has been covering Northwest Indiana for more than 35 years, including more than a quarter of a century at The Times.