NORTH FAYETTE (KDKA) — It’s not a call that George Koch, president and owner of H&K Equipment, was expecting.
“We got a call from the White House, asked if we’d like to host the president,” Koch told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Wednesday.
Koch is a fan of President Donald Trump, but never expected this.
Koch: “Enormous honor.”
Delano: “Do you know President Trump? Have you met him in the past?”
Koch: “No, not at all.”
Delano: “No contact with him?”
Koch: “None whatsoever. Just on television.”
Since the company first learned last Thursday that the president would be visiting them, no surprise, White House staff and Secret Service have been all over the place.
But the fact that the President of the United States is visiting is what really thrills the company, especially since they believe that their economic success is tied to the president’s policies.
“We feel he’s great for the economy, and great for a company like us,” says Koch.
Last year, 2017, was the company’s best year ever, and with the new tax law they expect 2018 to be even better.
“We have gone from four employees when we started to more than 300, and our revenues continue to grow,” Koch said.
Lisa Washington’s Report:
Senior administration officials tell KDKA the president will tour the plant and then cite specific examples and people locally who have benefited by the Republican tax bill, noting that Pennsylvanians will get $11 billion in tax cuts.
But there is a political side to the visit.
Although he doesn’t represent H&K in North Fayette, Pennsylvania state Rep. Rick Saccone, a Republican, will greet the president.
That’s because Saccone is the Republican candidate for Congress in the March 13 special election against former federal prosecutor Conor Lamb, a Democrat.
It’s Saccone who’s the long-time supporter of the president.
“I was Trump before there was Trump, and I ran in 2010 on these same issues,” Saccone told KDKA’s Jon Delano last year.
Saccone is running in the 18th District, once represented by Tim Murphy, that elected the president by 20 points.
While the tax bill may be the president’s talking point, Republican and Democratic insiders locally believe it’s the special congressional election is why Trump is here to boost Saccone over Lamb, the Democrat, who, by the way, will start his first TV commercials on Thursday.
Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey tells the “KDKA Morning News” he expected the tax bill would be positive for American workers, but admits he didn’t think results would be seen so quickly.
“There is no question in my mind that if we lower taxes and allowed American business to be competitive globally; much of that benefit would end up in the hands of employees. I just didn’t think it would happen this quickly, so I’m thrilled,” said Toomey.
Toomey added that there are hundreds of companies and, “several million American workers, who are getting a bonus or a pay raise or an increase to their pension fund or all of the above.”