Snap-on’s headquarters at 2801 80th Street in Kenosha. – FoxNews6
President Trump to visit Snap-on’s headquarters in Kenosha April 18 at 2 p.m.
by Long Hwa-shu & Tina Johansson
Patrick Puhr, a life-long resident of Kenosha, was wondering why four military helicopters flew over his house and then landed at the site of Snap-on Inc. on 80th Street Saturday afternoon.
He was so curious, he admitted, that he decided to check it out and learned that President Donald Trump was going to visit Snap-on Inc. Tuesday afternoon.
“I think it could be good for Kenosha,” he said, adding, “Hopefully it is good news for the people and the area.”
According to reports, President Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order given the title “Buy American, Hire American,” on Tuesday when he visits Kenosha.
He also is planning to sign an executive order that seeks to make changes to a visa program, which will bring in high-skilled workers.
In a written statement, Nicholas T. Pinchuk, Snap-on’s chairman and CEO, stated, “We believe this is not only an honor to our company, but is also a welcome step in reenergizing the traditional American respect for the dignity of work.”
Kenosha, known as a blue-collar town, was home to the long-gone American Motors. Chrysler used to have an engine plant here. Thousands worked at these auto plants. No longer. The factories have been vacant for years and Kenosha downtown is a mirror that reflects the listless economy brought by the loss of jobs.
But Snap-on, a $9.3-billion global company with its unique tools, has remained in Kenosha where it is headquartered. Needless to say, President Trump is going to talk about jobs, keep jobs in America and make America great again. And Snap-on can play a no-small role in that.
We believe this is not only an honor to our company, but is also a welcome step in reenergizing the traditional American respect for the dignity of work.” – Nicholas T. Pinchuk, Snap-on chairman and CEO
Snap-on employs 12,000 in manufacturing facilities in ten states including one in Milwaukee although not in Kenosha. This is Mr. Trump’s first visit to Wisconsin since being elected. Wisconsin helped elect him and it is the home state of House Speaker Paul Ryan and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.
Puhr, who will be 58 in June, was excited about the president’s visit and wanted to be at Snap-on even though he knew “it is going to be a closed event.” Puhr who works in food service at the 21st Century Prep School in Racine, wouldn’t say whether he voted for Trump except to say he “loved the secret ballot.” There are things, he said, “I like and dislike about Trump.”
He compared presidents to bosses. “I think of Trump as the boss. Just like at work, sometimes you are happy to see them, sometimes not. Sometimes you agree with them, sometimes not. But they are still the boss, and as such, deserve the respect that goes with that position.”
His view is shared by Janis Barnhill and Julie Zorn, co-owners of Coffee Pot, a downtown eatery.
“No matter what, Trump deserves our respect. It is interesting he’s coming. We can’t wait to find out what he has to say,” they stated jointly.
“We would love it if he should come in for a cup of coffee,” they added hopefully.
Linda Simonsen of Kenosha said she was busy all day trying to score a ticket to the closed event for her son, a high school senior, and a Trump fan. None was found.
Michael Cohoon, 17, who attends Christian Life School, said he and his mother have attended about four Trump election tours in Wisconsin last year. And he’s got the photos to prove it.
Though he may not get to see the president, Cohoon nonetheless remains hopeful. He plans to get as close to him as possible on Tuesday. His mom hopes his son will finally be able to shake the president’s hand.
The honor roll student who is taking several college courses, said the one word that comes to mind when he thinks of President Trump is “hope.”
After graduation in June, Cohoon will attend Ripon College, where he plans to study political journalism, as he sees the media far too often unfair and biased.
Sounding like someone well beyond his years, Cohoon said he was “disappointed” that he wasn’t old enough to cast a ballot in the recent presidential election (He will be 18 on April 28).
“I just felt that the country was headed down the wrong path for eight years,” said Cohoon. “I feel hopeful that our new president will turn things around, and make the country more prosperous. I hate to sound cliché, but I just want a country that will be great again. “
Mrs. Simonsen said she and her husband Leonard, an over-the-road truck driver, are more than ready for more manufacturing jobs to come back to Wisconsin, and are hopeful about President Trump.
“My husband used to be a millwright, and he made a pretty decent living,” she said. “Then he lost his job about five years ago.”
Jarame Baldwin, who resides in the Allendale neighborhood, said he and friends spent Saturday wondering what helicopters were doing hovering above Kenosha.
“You don’t normally see military helicopters flying that low. It became the talk of the weekend,” said Baldwin, a delivery driver for a local baked goods company.
He found out later what was planned, and the news of the president’s visit soon spread like wildfire on social media.
Baldwin remarked that while he liked the idea, he was somewhat surprised that President Trump had chosen to come here.
“With all of the big cities in Wisconsin, I wondered why he picked Kenosha,” said Baldwin.
He said he figured that the visit was on par with the president’s jobs agenda. “Kenosha County is the number one location for bringing new jobs to the state,” said Baldwin, noting companies like Uline, Amazon and Kenall Lighting have moved to Kenosha. In addition, the German gummy candy maker Haribo has anounced plans to open its first U.S. facility in Kenosha next year.