ELKHART — Today, Wednesday, June 1, President Obama visited Elkhart County for two speaking events. The first event was hosted at Concord Community High School at 3:30 p.m. There, Obama delivered an hour-long speech about what he called the myths and truths of the economy in Elkhart and similar American communities.
The speech began with an introduction from South Bend resident, Kelly Rizzo. In 2009 Rizzo wrote a letter to Obama describing the hard times Elkhart residents were experiencing with the economy. During the hard times, her family was one of many who were struggling to make ends meet and keep their house.
Upon taking the stage, Obama said, “I’m here to talk about the economy. I wanted to come to the heartland, to the midwest, to talk about that economic anxiety.”
“What I’ve got to say really boils down to two points, continued Obama. “America’s economy is not just better than it was eight years ago, it is the strongest, most durable economy in the world. Point number two, we can make it even stronger. But to do that we have to be honest about what our real challenges are and make smart decisions going forward.”
After his introduction, Obama went on to address several myths from the past four years. These myths were that the federal government gives tax dollars to those who don’t deserve it, that Obama’s administration has killed jobs by over regulation and that immigrants are taking all of American jobs.
Obama then continued his speech by giving Elkhart, and American communities, suggestions for moving forward.
His first suggestion was to get wages rising faster. “Wages are actually growing at a rate of about 3 percent so far this year,” said Obama. “But we’ve got to accelerate that.” He also suggested that America better prepare children and students for high tech jobs.
Another suggestion was that America ensure that trade works for them and not against them. “Walling ourselves off from other countries is not going to do it,” said Obama. “Making sure that every country raises their wage levels, their environmental standards to levels that we set.” His last suggestion was to strengthen, not weaken the rules that keep Wall Street in check.
Obama concluded his speech by urging everyone to vote in the upcoming election. “You have a choice to make Elkhart. That’s what is at stake for this election. Two very different visions for our economy.”
After his presentation at Concord Community High School, Obama traveled to the Lerner Theatre. There, the President will participate in a closed town hall event hosted by PBS. A very limited number of Elkhart residents were invited to speak directly to Obama. The town hall event will air at 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 1, on local PBS station, WNIT.