6:00: Morning News

VP Pence addresses small business leaders, rally in West Virginia

SCOTT DEPOT, W.Va. — Vice President Mike Pence told a crowd of West Virginia small business leaders that President Donald Trump will be “the best friend American small business will ever have.”

Pence made a stop at Foster Supply in Putnam County Saturday to talk with small business owners in the area. He was greeted by Governor Jim Justice at Yeager Airport, then met with Foster Supply owner Ron Foster and his wife Delegate Nancy Reagan Foster (R-Putnam, 38) at their business.

A group of people rallied at the state Capitol Saturday to show their support for President Donald Trump.

“Folks, the era of slow growth is over and a new era of American growth and jobs has already begun,” he told the crowd inside the Foster Supply warehouse located off Teays Valley Road in Scott Depot.

Foster said he was grateful the Trump Administration recognized his small business and others who are “a part of the engines that will move our country forward.”

Pence also made a surprise stop at the Veterans Memorial on the state Capitol grounds to speak with those at the Make America Great Again rally who were decked out in Trump gear, shouting “We love Pence!”

Linda McMahon, administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration, accompanied the Vice President during his visit.

“I am your advocate at Small Business Administration. I’ve got your back,” McMahon told the crowd at Foster Supply. “I want to hear from you because President Trump believes in small businesses. He knows that you are the back bone of our economy.”

Linda McMahon, administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration, accompanied Pence during his visit.

Pence and McMahon heard from business owners during a forum prior to the event. Timothy Burns, owner of Grass Masters in Huntington, was part of the conversation.

“He was very open and listened to what we had to say,” Burns said.

Burns’ company employs about 8-10 people, but he said, unfortunately, his business is struggling to find people to work. Burns is hoping tax breaks will help get his business back on track.

“One thing would definitely be lowering taxes. The tax right now is 35 percent and the hope being small businesses would be paying 15 percent tax rates,” he said.

Taxes would be cut for every American, the Vice President said. Small business are in good hands, he said, because Trump has already added 235,000 jobs to the nation’s economy since he took office.

In addition to jobs, Pence addressed West Virginia’s struggling coal industry. He said coal miners should know Trump is on their side and will put them back to work.

“We’re going to get Washington out of the way of energy producers and coal miners because energy means growth for America and President Trump digs coal!” he said, following cheers. “The war on coal is over.”

Pence said it’s “heartbreaking” to know West Virginia has lost more than a third of its mining jobs over the last few years. Since 2009, more than 130 mines in West Virginia have been shut down. He assured those men and women “will be forgotten no more” under the new administration.

Congressmen Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.) and Alex Mooney (R-W.Va.) were at Saturday’s event. Jenkins said it’s important to jump start West Virginia’s economy.

Saturday’s forum and speech were held at Foster Supply in Scott Depot.

“If we get this economy going, that gets small businesses going and that gets people working again. That’s what this is all about. A good job solves a lot of problems,” he said.

The Vice President didn’t discuss health care during the small business forum, according to Burns, but did during his nearly 20 minute long speech. He talked about it for 4 minutes.

On Friday, the proposed plan to repeal Obamacare failed in the U.S. House of Representatives. The American Health Care Act was pulled from the House floor when it became clear there were not enough Republicans on board to pass the bill.

“Obamacare premiums here in West Virginia spiked by a stunning 32 percent,” Pence said. “Over 40 percent of the state doesn’t have any choice of an insurance provider on the Obamacare exchange. Every day that Obamacare survives is another day that America suffers.”

U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Friday was a “victory” for the American people. Pence disagreed.

“West Virginia knows better,” he said.”It was a victory for the status quo in Washington, D.C. It was a victory for the disaster of Obamacare, but I promise you that victory won’t last very long.”

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