Kirk visits high-tech Jo Daviess County firm [Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA)]
(Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) ELIZABETH, Ill. - Mark Kirk, in his recovery from a January 2012 stroke, is well enough to return to his work in the U.S. Senate. As Congress is not in session, he once again can tour the state he represents.
Kirk made an August recess swing through Jo Daviess County on Tuesday. Among his stops were Ulysses S. Grant's home in Galena and a software development company in Elizabeth.
The latter was a somewhat curious destination for Kirk, given the business is in the process of moving the vast majority of its operations across the state line to Dubuque.
Kirk was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010. He said Tuesday's visit was his first to Jo Daviess County since 2011, months before he suffered the stroke from which he is recovering.
Kirk toured Design Mill's Elizabeth office from a wheelchair. He said he was impressed by a presentation of the company's work, which includes 3D computer modeling and government contracts.
"Pretty high tech. Very much can see the (Department of Defense) applications where we're going to have to visualize a target, and soldiers definitely deploy straight into battle with their laptops and their iPads," he said. "If you can employ this technology onto an iPad, you will be in the back of a soldier's backpack. If they can properly visualize a village they're going into, then they will act as if they've
already been there."
Design Mill opened in 2006 in Elizabeth. This summer, the company announced it will move to Dubuque's Millwork District and expand, adding eight to 10 employees. The company received $80,000 in direct assistance and tax breaks from the state of Iowa.
Asked about Design Mill's move across state lines, Kirk only joked, "Gosh, I'm eternally a supporter of the Bears and Cubs, not the Hawkeyes. There are no Illinois voters in Iowa for obvious reasons."
Kirk also touched on topical
issues during his visit. He said he disagrees with the swelling Republican support for vetoing any spending bill that appropriates resources to the new federal health care law.
"I disagree with that strategy. I think that strategy could have an adverse effect on the economy of the United States," he said.
On the ongoing tension in Syria, where the country's military reportedly used chemical weapons against its own people, Kirk said he supports U.S. military reaction limited to long-range cruise missile strikes. He said that would punish the Syrian military without risking American lives.
"My recommendation would be to just hit whatever military unit of the Syrian military that we think was involved in using chemical weapons against its people, that they will get the message as they see this - whatever, this divisional headquarters - collapse. That will get your attention," Kirk said.
Later Tuesday, Kirk planned to visit the historical site of the Lincoln-Douglas debate of 1858 in Freeport. Kirk joked that Illinoisans do not have a perfect voting record, noting Abraham Lincoln lost that 1858 U.S. Senate election to Stephen Douglas, and the election of now-disgraced former governor Rod Blagojevich.
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