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Pence’s message to Missouri: Small businesses are a priority, as is health care

Vice President Mike Pence points into the audience after delivering remarks at Fabick Cat in Fenton, Missouri.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio
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Vice President Mike Pence points into the audience after delivering remarks at Fabick Cat in Fenton, Missouri.

Vice President Mike Pence was nostalgic Wednesday, citing his teenage years working at his family’s gas station to make his point that he, like President Donald Trump, understands business.

 

“I’ll make you a promise. President Trump is the best friend that small businesses will ever have,” Pence told several hundred Republican supporters in Fenton at Fabick Cat, a family-owned business that specializes in construction equipment.

 

He added that Fabick’s success exemplifies the vision that he and Trump have when it comes to helping businesses to succeed.

 

“We’re rolling back taxes and we’re rolling back red tape already in Washington, D.C.,’’ Pence said to some of the loudest cheers during his 20-minute address.

 

“Trump and I know that when small business is strong, America is strong.”

 

 

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens introduces Vice President Mike Pence at Fabick Cat.
Credit Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio
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Governor Eric Greitens introduces Vice President Mike Pence at Fabick Cat.

Pledged strong replacement to ACA

 

But the audience’s response seemed somewhat muted when Pence resurrected the long-standing GOP promise to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

 

Pence cited the increases in insurance premiums and deductibles since the federal health insurance program went into effect six years ago.

 

“Obamacare is a job killer, and everybody knows it,” Pence said.

 

Fabick Cat employees wait for Governor Greitens and Vice President Pence to arrive on Feb. 22, 2017.
Credit Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio
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Fabick Cat employees wait for Governor Greitens and Vice President Pence to arrive.

 

But rank-and-file Republicans have expressed concerns about what will replace the ACA and congressional members have yet to coalesce behind one proposal.

 

Pence seemed to sense such sentiments, as he went on to detail some replacement options – such allowing people to purchase insurance across state lines “the way you purchase life insurance and the way you purchase car insurance.”

 

“President Trump and I want every American to have access to quality and affordable health insurance,” Pence said.

 

He later added, “We truly do believe those free-market principles, individual responsibility and consumer choice can make the best health care system in America married to the best health insurance system in America as well.”

 

Pence did not mention that, as governor of Indiana, he expanded Medicaid as recommended under the Affordable Care Act.  

 

Republicans in Missouri have blocked any expansion efforts. And new Gov. Eric Greitens, who accompanied Pence in Fenton, has repeatedly emphasized that he opposes any such expansion. Since taking office, Greitens has made some trims in the state’s existing Medicaid program in order to help balance Missouri’s budget.

 

Attendees wave to Vice President Pence as he exits Fabick Cat in Fenton on Feb. 22, 2017

Attendees wave to Vice President Pence as he exits Fabick Cat in Fenton on Feb. 22, 2017
Credit Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio
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Attendees wave to Vice President Pence as he exits.

Pence decries destruction at Jewish cemetery 

 

Before launching into his business message, Pence first highlighted his distress – and Trump’s disgust – at the weekend vandalism at a Jewish cemetery in University City.

 

“We condemn this vile act of vandalism and those who perpetrated it in the strongest possible terms,’’ Pence said.

 

After his address, he joined Greitens in visiting the cemetery before leaving to return to Washington.

 

Follow Jo on Twitter: @jmannies

 

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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