Vice President Mike Pence meets with local families and businesses in Anderson, Indiana


Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the Wylam Center of Flagship East on Friday. Pence discussed tax reform, national security and healthcare. "Indiana knows the truth," said Pence. "Tax cuts mean more jobs. Tax cuts mean high wages for our families. Tax cuts mean creating an economy where anything is possible, where anyone can achieve anything." Evan De Stefano Buy Photos

ANDERSON, Ind. — It has been 65 years since a sitting U.S. vice president or president has been in Anderson, Indiana. 

But Friday afternoon, Vice President Mike Pence visited Anderson at the Wylam Center of Flagship to talk with local business leaders and families. 

"It's great to be back home again in Indiana," Pence said. 

Pence, former governor of Indiana and current vice president, arrived before 1 p.m. Friday in Indianapolis on Air Force Two. He met up with Gov. Eric Holcomb, Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, Rep. Susan Brooks, R-5th District, Rep. Todd Rokita, R-4th District and Rep. Luke Messer, R-6th District, to discuss tax reform.

They visited a local barbecue restaurant, the Pittt Barbaque, before coming to the Flagship Enterprise location, a technological business center in Anderson. 

Pence said he heard firsthand from the business owner how federal tax cuts would allow the company to open another location. 

The visit ended with formal remarks in Anderson at the Wylam Center on his discussion with Indiana leaders on tax reform. It also focused heavily on the Graham-Cassidy bill, the current bill up for debate to replace and repeal the Affordable Care Act.

"Hoosiers know the truth," Pence said. "Obamacare has failed, and Obamacare must go." 

Pence said the Healthy Indiana Plan, Indiana's Medicaid program, is currently providing health insurance for 400,000 Indiana residents. 

"It's the gold standard for Medicaid reform in the country," he said. "HIP is leading the way."

The United Health Foundation ranked Indiana 36th in health care in 2016. 

Once he talked health care, he moved on to the reason he was there to speak with Anderson: jobs.

He said if the current 3-percent growth rate in employment sustains over time, the country could see ten million new jobs. 

"Already, our president has signed more executive orders to cut through federal red tape than any president in American history," Pence said.

So far, President Trump has signed 45 executive orders total, with the most executive orders signed ever at 3,721 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, according to the American Presidency Project, a nonpartisan project working with the University of California Santa Barbara. 

In a room full of Republicans, Donnelly stood alone, but he said he was there to support Pence and hear what he had to say on tax reform. He said a big decision had to be made. 

He said his conversation with Trump in September was mainly focused on this tax reform effort. 

He said if the reform effort focused on the middle class, then he thought more Democrats could get behind the Trump administration. 

"You'll get a lot of interest with Democrats, but if it's skewed toward the wealthy, I said you'll lose all the Democrats," Donnelly said. "He said his focus is on the middle class so I'm here to see if there's any more details and keep an eye on those details."

Not just a bystander, Pence sought him out during his remarks. 

"Senator Donnelly, we need your help," Pence said. The crowd clapped for a minute or two, chanting and hollering with Pence. 

He continued talking to Donnelly, he asked him to stand with the Republican Party and the Indiana majority. 

"Joe, let's decide today, we're gonna get this tax cut done, and we're gonna get it done today," Pence said to Donnelly. 

He made a promise to the crowd that Trump would sign a bipartisan tax reform bill lowering federal taxes for middle class families and businesses. 

He ended the speech by urging Hoosiers to bend their knees to prayer. 

"Humble yourselves in prayer, he'll hear you," Pence said. "One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." 

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