CAT Chairman Endorses Mark Kirk for Senator

By Gina Ford

August 30, 2010 Updated Aug 30, 2010 at 10:18 PM CDT

"I'm very proud to be supporting Mark I've known him for a long time as the congressman," said Caterpillar chairman, Jim Owens

During a Monday afternoon news conference Owens announced his endorsement of Republican Mark Kirk for U.S. Senator.

"He's taken a great interest in our business and he's been a great leader in building consensus for a lot of policies," said Owens.

At the height of what is arguably one of the hottest senate races in the country, Kirk said it is his policies like less spending and lower taxes that sets him above Democratic opponent Alexi Giannoulias.

"Seeking to punish large exporters that could be one of the number one job providers of our state's economy," Kirk said.

But in a Monday afternoon news release, Giannoulias said Kirk "made his record clear when he voted six times for the dangerous corporate tax loopholes that encourage companies to ship jobs overseas. The result is new jobs in China and millions of unemployed Americans."

The congressman said he supports the President's call to pass the U.S- South Korea Free Trade Agreement. Caterpillar has said they currently pay between four and eight percent tariffs to export goods to Korea.

In addition Kirk said it is time to put less emphasis on partnerships with Europe and build relationships with countries like India and China.

"We have to see the world not as it was in the 20th century in which Europe was so important but the 21st century in which Asia is leading," Kirk said. Kirk and his backers say this will bring jobs back to the US and to Illinois.

Giannoulias received the endorsement of General Wesley Clark Monday. The retired four-star general was a Democratic candidate for President in 2004.

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