Vice President Pence talks trade during stop in Lexington

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Vice President Mike Pence was in Lexington on Friday promoting the United States-Mexico-Canada trade accord (USMCA).

This was Pence’s fifth trip to Kentucky since taking office.  Friday’s visit was to Hallway Feeds, a locally owned and operated equine feed business, which Pence says would benefit from USMCA.

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“We’re going to make sure more goods and more materials are built right here in the U.S.A., especially in the automotive sector,” Pence said.  “We’re eliminating unfair trade barriers to American dairy and poultry.  We’re creating strong protections for intellectual properties that spur innovation,” he added.

Hallway Feeds Vice President Lee Hall talked about what the trade accord would mean to his company.

“It’s a streamlining, more efficient, more cost-effective way that we can get product into those countries, ultimately being more competitive in introducing new products into the marketplace,” Hall said.



Vice President Pence asked for the audience’s help in getting USMCA passed.  The vice president says the trade accord would add 176,000 jobs to the U.S. economy and $68 billion in investment.

Pence says President Trump did his job in negotiating a free-trade reciprocal deal with Mexico and Canada and now it’s time for Congress to do its job and pass USMCA this summer.

Friday evening Vice President Pence attended the Derby Eve Governor’s Ball ahead of Saturday’s 145th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

Below is the vice president’s prepared remarks from his Lexington visit:

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  That’s what we call a “twin spin.”  Thank you very much.  And thank you all for being out late on a Friday, on a busy weekend here in the Horse Capital of the world.  Hello, Kentucky!  (Applause.)

And it is really great to be here with all of you and to really have the opportunity to be in the midst of a great American success story: “family-owned,” “hand-shake operated” — join me in thanking all the great team here at Hallway Feeds!  What a great American company.  (Applause.)

And I’m just delighted to be here with a great member of our Cabinet, Secretary Alex Acosta, who just shared the exciting news today.  I’ll talk about what’s happening all across the country, but how about the lowest unemployment ever recorded in the history of Kentucky?  Four percent unemployment rate.  Thank you for bringing the great news, Secretary Acosta.  (Applause.)

And more to the point, would you all join me in thanking Governor Matt Bevin for leading this state with conservative conviction and delivery for the people of Kentucky?  (Applause.)

Governor Bevin is a hard man to follow at a podium.  I learned that a long time ago.  And I will tell you that when I was governor of Indiana, and we first became acquainted, I just knew that he’d bring a level of energy, conservative principle, and real results for the state of Kentucky.  And I’m just so proud — so proud of your leadership.  The President and I are truly grateful for the way that you have turned Kentucky around.  Governor Matt Bevin, thank you so much for being with us here today.  (Applause.)  It really means the world to me.

And our hosts today, Lee and Julia Hall, thank you for being here.  Thanks for being such a great example of a great American company.  And as I mentioned to all these people and the great Hallway Feeds team, let me bring greetings from a friend of mine who is a great fan of American farmers and a great fan of the people of Kentucky.  I bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump.  (Applause.)

You know, as you heard a little bit from this podium already, when this President and I were running for this office back in 2016, we really believed after eight years of economic growth that we were told, remember, was the “new normal”; the eight years of economic growth in the most powerful economy in the history of the world, growth of less than 2 percent — we were told that was about what it was going to take.

In fact, in early 2017, a man by the name of Larry Summers, who was the top economic advisor for the last President, actually said that anyone who believed that we could get to 3 percent economic growth also had to believe in the Tooth Fairy, or something like that.  Did you hear about that?

Well, this President and I went right to work.  With the strong support of your governor and with the steadfast support of Congressman Andy Barr, who is also with us today — (applause) — we cut taxes at a historic level.  We rolled back federal regulation.  We unleashed American energy.  We negotiated new, free, and fair trade deals with nations around the world.

And as I stand before you today, I know you already heard about it in the news this morning, but it’s amazing to think 5.8 million new jobs since Election Day; 263,000 jobs in the month of April alone; and the lowest unemployment rate since 1969.  The American economy is roaring!  (Applause.)

And it’s all happening because of the policies that this President and the people of Kentucky supported back in 2016.  We’ve been able to move forward an agenda that really is reviving the American economy, and it’s impacting jobs right here in the state of Kentucky.  We talked about that record low unemployment rate.  But in the midst of those 5.8 million new jobs, I’m happy to report 36,000 new, good-paying jobs right here in the state of Kentucky alone.  Thank you, Governor.  Thanks for being a partner with us for Kentucky’s prosperity.  (Applause.)

And the great news is, is — I’ll tell you, when I was governor of Indiana — which is a state that gets along with Kentucky well, other than during basketball season — (laughter) — truthfully, just like Kentucky, you know, in Indiana we do two things well: We make things and we grow things.  And the truth is that wages here in Kentucky, and wages across my home state all across America, have been a stubborn economic indicator for years.

And probably the thing the President and I are most excited about is that, over the last year, with all the economic growth that is happening, wages are rising at the fastest pace in the last 10 years.  And working blue-collar Americans are getting the most rapid increase of wages of all.  The forgotten men and women of America are forgotten no more.  And the American Dream is working again.  (Applause.)  Incredible.  It’s incredible.

And it’s all a result of putting commonsense, conservative policies into practice.  And the impact you can see right in the Hallways here at this great American company.

You know, as I talk to the team here at Hallway Feeds, and that you already heard from this podium — from Lee — that after those tax cuts passed, they’ve actually been able, in this company, to expand to new markets in Florida and New York, Texas, and throughout the Mid-Atlantic.  And it’s an incredible story of this company that it’s been a mainstay of the local economy over the last 55 years.  In fact, for decades, you and your 30 employees have provided the fastest horses in the world, with the best feed in the world.

In fact, as we were being introduced to some of the feed, I noticed — what is it, Race 13 feed?  Was that what was in that bowl?  I did go ahead and take a little nibble of it — (laughter) — just so — so I think that increases the likelihood that the next winner of the Kentucky Derby and I had the same thing for dinner the night before.  (Applause.)

So congratulations, Hallways Feeds, on all your success!

The truth is, as Lee told me a little bit earlier today, it’s been the President’s economic policies that have made it possible for this company to expand.  I mean, the truth of the matter is, when you look at 5.8 million jobs, I always bristled throughout my career in the Congress and as governor, and now as your Vice President, when you’d hear elected officials talk about jobs they created.

I mean, what you all know here, and what Lee and the family know here, is that it’s businesses across America that create jobs.  And companies like Hallway Feeds are emblematic of companies that have been able to seize on these new policies of less taxes for businesses and individuals, less regulation, more access to affordable energy, and better trade deals to be able to grow and expand.

And I got to tell you, the most inspiring thing that I heard from this podium earlier today is the fact that, in the midst of all this expansion of Hallway Feeds — did I actually hear it? — the salary here at Hallway Feeds has grown by nearly 20 percent.  This is a company that invests in the people that make the company work.  (Applause.)  That is a great, great American story.

But for all we’ve done before, you know, it’s just what President Trump likes to call a “good start.”  And I want to promise you, Kentucky, that we’ve only just begun to drive forward the kind of policies that will give companies just like this one, families just like yours, the opportunity to continue to live the American Dream and pursue it.

And chief of among those, to hear the President tell it, is that we continue to negotiate trade deals that are free and fair and reciprocal and put American jobs, American farmers, and American workers first.  And that’s exactly what we’ve done.  (Applause.)

As I speak to you today — as I speak to you today, we negotiated a new trade deal with South Korea.  We’ve opened up opportunities for new exports in South America.  We’ve begun discussions with the European Union and Japan for new free trade deals.  Of course, you’re all watching the headlines about our negotiations with China.  Our team just arrived back yesterday.  We’re working to expand the opportunity for exports and level the playing field with China.

China today is fully one-half of our international trade deficit.  And we’ve made it very clear — but the President has to President Xi and all the leadership in China — that things have to change.  They need to open their markets up to America’s manufactured goods.  They need to open their markets up to American agricultural goods.  And we are driving forward in the days ahead for a free and fair and reciprocal deal with China.  And we’re going to keep fighting for it every single day.  I promise you.  (Applause.)

But I came here today — I came here today to tell you that there’s a trade deal that’s already been negotiated.  It’s called the United States-Canada-Mexico Agreement — USMCA, for short.  And it basically is a — it’s another promise kept by President Trump.  And it’s been remarkable to think, a quarter century ago, the North American Free Trade Agreement was signed into law by President Clinton.

And since that time, I don’t have to tell the people of Kentucky any more than I’d have to tell the people of Indiana or anywhere across the Heartland that NAFTA costs jobs.  While there were opportunities in agriculture for exports, the reality was that, over the last 25 years, we’ve literally seen hundreds of thousands of jobs, thousands of factories close and go south of the border.

President Trump said we could do better.  And President Trump sat down and we negotiated a free, fair, reciprocal deal with Mexico and Canada.  The President has done his job.  Now it’s time for Congress to do their job and pass the USMCA this summer.  (Applause.)

And it’s a good deal.  It’s a good deal.  The truth is, NAFTA undercut American workers, undermined good-paying jobs that strengthen and grow our middle class.  But those days are over.

Under the USMCA, I’m proud to report to you that we’re going to make sure more goods and more materials are built right here in the United States of America, especially in the automotive sector.  We’re eliminating unfair trade barriers to American dairy and poultry.  We’re creating strong protections for intellectual property that spur innovation.  And as one of the guys working the line here at Hallway Feeds told me, we’re also addressing all the new technology and new coding that’s gone into effect.

When NASA [NAFTA] was signed into law, there wasn’t anything called iPhones.  There wasn’t any or half of the new technology that businesses operate on every day.  And the USMCA modernizes our trading relationship, and it’s in a way that’s going to put American jobs and American workers first.

According to the U.S. International Trade Commission, a report released just last week — we believe when the USMCA is signed into law, it will add 176,000 jobs to our economy and $68 billion of investment.  In fact, American exports to Canada, we project, will increase by $19 billion, and will increase to Mexico by $14 billion right out of the gate.

But the clock is ticking, men and women, and that’s really why I’m traveling all over the country.  I was in Norfolk, Virginia, earlier this week.  I was in Detroit, Michigan, last week.  And I wanted to take some time to talk with all of you today.  Because the truth is, we’ve got to get Congress — we got to get Congress to move of the USMCA.

Now, I know we’re going to be able to count on Congressman Andy Barr, who has been a great, great champion for free and fair and reciprocal trade in support of this administration.  And I know we’re going to count on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Rand Paul to move this trade deal to the President’s desk.  (Applause.)

But we need all of you to let your voice be heard — not just to those elected officials, but really, the Heartland needs to be heard from about the need to have the USMCA signed into law.

The truth is, for all that we’ve seen in this economy, the President and I truly do believe that we’ve only begun to explore the boundaries of the full potential of the American economy.  And by signing into law a new trading agreement for Mexico and Canada and the United States, we believe that we’ll create even more momentum in an economy that’s already roaring.

And so I want to ask you to spread the word.  I mean, this is a company that does business all over the country, and we want you to spend the word to your suppliers; spread the word to your customers.  Say, “I was hanging out late at Hallway Feeds on a Friday afternoon, and I ran into Mike” — (laughter) — “and he told me this USMCA would be a huge win for Kentucky, a huge win for America, and every single one of us needs to say it’s time for Congress to pass the USMCA and send it to the President’s desk.”  Okay?  That’s the message I’m asking you to deliver.  (Applause.)

So I’m going to get out of your hair.  I know you all have got a big weekend ahead of you here in Kentucky.  And, in fact, I’m going to head off from here to head to the Governors Ball to greet some good folks.  And it will be my great honor to do just that.

You know, this is such a great state with such great traditions.  But maybe — there may be no tradition greater than the Kentucky Derby.  Growing up in southern Indiana, I would see my mom and dad put on their finest and head south on I-65 to go to the Kentucky Derby, year after year.  The whole nation will be focused on Kentucky.  And, you know, the Derby has captured the imagination of Americans and people around the world for generations, and I know it will again tomorrow.

But, you know, I’ve always believed that whether it’s the Kentucky Derby, or that race we run up in Indianapolis — you know, Americans love racing because we love competition.  We love to compete, and we love to win.  And I got to tell you, men and women, I absolutely believe that with President Donald Trump in the White House, we’ve only just begun to win for the American economy.  We’ve only just begun to strengthen our military and our standing in the world.  We’ve only just begun to lay a strong foundation of conservative principle and constitutional conviction in the courts of this country.

And so I want to ask for your continued support for all that we’re doing.  And I’ll also ask for your prayers.

You know, the sweetest words the President and I ever here are, “I’m praying for you.”  And I already heard it today when I arrived in Kentucky, and I heard it when I was down at — visiting a church that had been subject to an arson fire — down in Louisiana earlier today.

Mount Pleasant Baptist Church and two other predominantly black churches, historic black churches, in Louisiana were set afire.  But I have to tell you, the faith that I saw in those communities as we stood with the rubble of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church behind us was deeply inspiring to me.  It reminded me of the strength and the resilience and the faith of the people of this country, which I believe has always been and always will be the wellspring of our greatness.

So pray for our country.  Pray for the progress that we’re making.  Pray for all of us that have positions of authority, and especially all of those who wear the uniform of the United States in our armed forces and in law enforcement.

And I truly do believe, with President Trump in the White House; with strong, conservative leadership in the Congress, the House of Representatives, the United States Senate, from here in Kentucky; with all of your support and with God’s help, we’ll make even more progress than we could possibly imagine.  We’ll pass these kind of deals that will create new jobs and opportunities here in Kentucky beyond anything that we could ever imagine before.  And we will make America great again.

Thank you very much, Kentucky.  (Applause.)  God bless you.  Now, go enjoy the Kentucky Derby.  It’s great to be with you all.  (Applause.)