THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, hello, Minnesota! (Applause.) It is exciting to be here at Safety Signs. What a dynamic, growing family-owned business and a success story. Join me in thanking Sue and Jay Blanchard for your leadership, your commitment to this community — (applause) — and your example of the American Dream. Come on up on the stage. I don’t know what the — I don’t know if they paid for — come on. (Applause.)
That’s great. Great. Come back up here, Karen. I’ll tell you, I’m glad — I really appreciate — and the Secretary of Labor has literally been on the job for like a week. But he is an extraordinary American and he’s going to be a great, great champion for working Americans all across this nation. Join me in thanking Secretary Eugene Scalia one more time, will you? The Secretary of Labor. (Applause.)
And I want to thank our host, Generra Peck. Generra that was like the shortest trade work speech I’ve ever heard in my life. (Laughter.) She must know I got somewhere else to be. (Laughter.) But give them a round of applause. They put together today for us. (Applause.) And, Generra, we appreciate you. Great job.
And it is a special delight here to be with the woman to my right. We loaded up our two dogs and our cat — (laughter) — and headed to Minnesota today. We’ve been married 34 years, and I’ll tell you what: She is a champion for military families. She is a champion for art therapy all across the nation. And I’ll tell you what: She is, I think, the greatest Second Lady this country has ever had. Would you join me in thanking Karen Pence? She’s just doing an incredible job. (Applause.) Thank you, sweetheart.
And I would not correct the Secretary lightly, but he did say there’s no one who’s worked harder for the progress that this economy has made than me. But I might have one correction. There’s somebody else who I promise you has never stopped fighting to create jobs, a more prosperous and a more secure America. So, Minnesota, before he’s wheels down, let me bring greetings to Safety Signs from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
You know, I know Sue and Jay will appreciate this comment the President said not long ago: “Small-business owners embody the American pioneering spirit and remind us that determination can turn aspiration into achievement.” And that really is the story. That’s the story of the Blanchard family and of Safety Signs. And these are two people who have built a great business. I’m looking out on a lot of great employees here. And give yourselves a round of applause. The success of this company is owing to each and every one of you. (Applause.)
But, you know, this isn’t just a great employer, it isn’t just a great small business. It’s also a great — a great corporate citizen. And these are — these are two great, proud graduates of St. Cloud State University. But, in 2016, I’m actually told, they were named Lakeville Chamber of Commerce Community Business Partners of the Year for everything that they have done to improve this community — from the 9/11 Never Forget Memorial, to the VFW mobile Vietnam Wall. And all other community organizations, thank you for making Safety Signs and your family such a part of what makes this community special. We’re really proud of you. (Applause.) Thank you, Sue. Great job. Really great job.
And I know it’s a family affair. Jay just made the point that I grew up in a small business in southern Indiana, south of Highway 40. We had a gas station business. Had three brothers and two sisters, and so I know what it is to be in a family business. So I don’t want to — I don’t want to miss mentioning your three kids: Isabel, Jake, and your oldest daughter, Karlee. I don’t know if they’re here with us today, but give us a wave over here. Let’s hear it for this great family. (Applause.) And especially Karlee, who had the good sense to graduate from Notre Dame University in Indiana. Well done, Karlee. (Applause.)
I actually had the privilege of speaking at her commencement that year. And what a great accomplishment. I know your parents are so — so, so proud of each and every one of you.
Now, we — we’re gathering in a place that has a motto: “Whatever it takes.” I know you all live by that every day. You’re working on tighter and tighter deadlines because Safety Signs is getting busier every day in this bustling economy.
And I’ll tell you what: I couldn’t be more proud to serve alongside a president who, from the first day of this administration, has been working to get the economy of Minnesota moving and the economy of America moving. And right out of the gate, we cut taxes across the board for working families, small businesses just like this one, family farmers. We rolled back more federal red tape than any administration in American history already. And as you all see happening right here in northern Minnesota, we’ve unleashed American energy. We have an energy revolution happening all across this nation, and the results have been amazing. (Applause.)
The results have truly been amazing. The economy — as a Secretary just told you — more than 6 million new jobs in the last three years. Unemployment is at a 50-year low. There’s more Americans working today than ever before.
But I’ll tell you what: What actually means the most to the President and me — and I’ll say this to Jay and Sue — is that wages are rising all across America in the last two years, and they’re rising most rapidly for hardworking blue-collar Americans. The forgotten men and women of America are forgotten no more. This economy is working. (Applause.) It’s working for working people.
But I came here today, with the support of this great trade work script, to tell you that, in addition, we think to let people keep more of what they earn and making sure you don’t have a lot of red tape on your business so you can grow and thrive, and making sure that — making sure that we have a pathway to energy independence has been the President’s ambition to promote trade deals that are free and fair. And we’ve opened up new markets. Just about two weeks ago, we signed a new trade deal with Japan where we’re going to — we’re going to export more agricultural goods to Japan than ever before. We’ve opened up markets in South America. We renegotiated the South Korea trade agreement.
But sitting on the desk of the Speaker of the House in Washington, D.C., is the largest trade deal in American history. And I came here to Minnesota today to say the time has come for Democrats in Congress to pass the USMCA, and pass it this year. (Applause.)
I mean, I don’t have to tell all of you that trade means jobs here in Minnesota. In fact, we got someone with us today who, during his time in Congress, was a great, great champion of economic growth and low taxes, and free and fair trade. Jason Lewis, thank you so much for being with us today — you and your wonderful wife, Leigh. (Applause.)
But I want to challenge each one of you because we’ve got a great opportunity in front of us. And Washington, D.C. is spending its time on the endless investigations and controversy. But we got an opportunity to pass something in the Congress that would be a win for everyone in Minnesota and a win for this country, and that’s the USMCA.
Did you know that Minnesota actually sends $7.2 billion of exports to Canada and Mexico every single year? And we know that’s only going to grow in this North Central State here in the Heartland of the country once the USMCA is signed into law. It will be the largest trade deal in the history of this country, but the Congress has to pass it. But we’re confident that if Speaker Pelosi will put it on the floor, it’s going to pass. And it’ll pass the Senate, and President Trump will sign it into law.
So I want you to let your voice be heard. Let all the people representing Minnesota in Washington, D.C. know that the folks here at Safety Signs know that a growing economy relies on trade deals that put American jobs and American workers first. And while you’re at it, give Congresswoman Angie Craig a call and tell her you want the USMCA voted on the floor of the House and you wanted voted this year. Give her a call and let her know. And tell her I told you. (Applause.) All right?
I mean, tell Congresswoman Angie Craig, “Let’s put politics aside.” And tell Speaker Pelosi to bring that trade deal to the floor and deliver a real win for all the people of Minnesota and all the people of America.
But listen, let me thank you all. Thank you all for taking time. Again, I want to express my appreciation to Sue and Jay Blanchard for your example, for your hospitality, for being just great, great small-business owners here in Minnesota. We’re really proud to be with you today.
And I want to congratulate again each and every one of you for making — making a business like this have such a great impact on this community, and, frankly, on the life of this state and this nation. And I want to promise you — I want to promise you: On behalf of my friend who’s going to be landing not too long in the Twin Cities in that big blue and white plane, and on behalf of the First Family, and on behalf of our family, we’re never going to stop fighting for the — to keep the promises that we made the people of Minnesota. We’re going to make America safer than ever before. We’re going to make America and Minnesota more prosperous than ever before. And to borrow a phrase, we’re going to keep America great.
Thanks, everybody. God bless you. (Applause.) God bless Minnesota. And God bless America. Thanks for the warm welcome. (Applause.)
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