President Biden in Crystal Lake: Suburban city gets 1st visit from sitting pres

Chicago leaders also hope to speak with the president regarding spike in gun violence

Wednesday, July 7, 2021
President Biden visits Crystal Lake pitching infrastructure plan
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President Biden visited Crystal Lake Wednesday, talking about ihs plan to help student debt, increase childcare for working families, and offer 2 years of free community college.

CRYSTAL LAKE, Ill. (WLS) -- President Joe Biden visited Crystal Lake on Wednesday, the first sitting president to do so.

Biden chose the Crystal Lake campus to promote his "Build Back Better" agenda, where the White House said he will focus on children and education.

The "Build Back Better" agenda includes in part:

  • Providing universal pre-school for all 3 and 4 year olds;
  • At least two years of free community college;
  • Making sure low to middle-income families spend no more than 7% of their income on childcare;
  • Create a national paid family and medical leave program;
  • And offer tax cuts for low to middle-income families and workers.
  • WATCH: President Biden's full speech at McHenry County College

    Biden touched down at O'Hare Wednesday morning, where he was greeted by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. He made a brief stop in the city before heading to McHenry County College.

    Once at the college, the president toured a manufacturing center where students learn traditional and computer-controlled machining. Some of them work for Scott Forge, which produces forged metal for NASA.

    President Biden then delivered a speech, introduced by student Edith Sanchez who was the first in her family to go to college. He spoke about the importance of education, starting with free universal Pre-K and including two years of free community college.

    The president also visited a childcare center on campus, which provides free care to students and trains others for jobs in the childcare industry. Biden was greeted there by Governor JB Pritzker, Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, and Congresswoman Lauren Underwood, who represents this part of McHenry County.

    "And so the idea that you could have employer basically offered childcare facilities at a high caliber, while they're educating students to become early learning leaders and teachers is a model that I think works well," Underwood said.

    The president is proposing paying for his plans by raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy, which faces an uphill battle in the Senate.

    Biden gets warm welcome from some, cold shoulder from others

    Regardless of politics, Crystal Lake was excited for the change to catch a glimpse of the president.

    "It's awesome, absolutely awesome," said Mayor Haig Haleblian.

    Many residents seemed to agree.

    "The fact that he wanted to come here to Crystal Lake says a lot about who I think Joe Biden is -- he's open and I believe the people are willing to listen," said resident Michael Zellmann.

    Some were hoping Biden would follow his pattern of stopping at an ice cream shop during visits to different towns, so a large crowd gathered at Kaleidascoops. The owner was ready, but he didn't have time for a stop.

    This visit is an important one for McHenry County democrats. While former President Trump won the "county," Biden won Crystal Lake.

    "When you look at McHenry County we have historically been Republican, and Crystal Lake is an amazing community, and we are incredibly open to hearing what any politician has to say, especially our president," Zellmann said.

    RELATED: Growing number of Americans concerned about crime, ABC News/Washington Post poll finds

    However, not everyone rolledout the red carpet. This morning a group of President Trump supporters stood outside of McHenry County College criticizing the Biden administration.

    "It's basically a nightmare. The gas prices have gone up, taxes. I've seen nothing good come out of the last few months he's been President," said Megan Saverino who is among the Trump supporters.

    "There is nothing to like about his administration right now. Everything he has done is a reversal of what President Trump has done," added fellow Trump supporter Pete Saverino.

    The president's visit comes on the heels of a bloody 4th of July weekend where at least 100 people were shot in Chicago.

    Biden in Chicago greeted by, meets with Mayor Lightfoot

    Mayor Lori Lightfoot was among those to greet the president at O'Hare airport when he arrived. She will also meet with him and bring up violence and gun control.

    "Regarding President Biden, yes, I expect to meet with him," Lightfoot said. "No. 1 -- can we please pass some common-sense gun control measures?"

    "There is a crisis going on in that city, and it would be a dereliction of duty for him to fly over Chicago," said RNC spokesman Paris Dennard.

    Alderman says communities, police 'under siege' after police shooting

    Wednesday morning, Chicago Alderman Matt O'Shea pled with the president to make a stop in the city.

    "I was just told President Biden will be in Crystal Lake here today. I'd like for him to come to Chicago and offer assistance," said the 19th Ward alderman.

    The Republican National Committee released a statement on the president's visit.

    "Chicagoans aren't interested in platitudes when their loved ones are dying in the streets. Joe Biden's trip to the Windy City without a plan to address out-of-control crime or denounce the Democrats' push to defund the police is a reminder that his party's wish list is more important to his administration than keeping Chicago families safe."