GARNER – Presidential candidate Jeb Bush will talk economic policy with locals and management at Morris and Associates in Garner next week, where he is also scheduled to tour the facility and speak publicly about taxes. The company makes industrial ice and chilling systems for poultry manufacturing worldwide. Morris and Associates employs just over 100 people, and employees are looking forward to putting their plant in the limelight for a moment.
“There’s a lot of manufacturing going on the United States, and this is what it looks like today; clean plants and highly trained employees,” said Bryan Johns, president of Morris and Associates. “The low-skill manufacturing industry from decades ago has mostly gone overseas and it isn’t coming back. Now we have guys on the floor with master’s degrees and highly specific technical degrees from community colleges. This is what manufacturing looks like going forward.”
Johns said Morris and Associates managers have the Zamboni floor scrubbers out, preparing for the visit on Wednesday, but he hopes that Bush takes away more than his own reflection in their squeaky clean floors.
“We are exporting equipment all over the world. When I’m talking to lawmakers one of my frustrations that I have to share are the tariffs,” said Johns. “For example, Brazil makes more money off my equipment than I do. In exporting, we are getting hosed.”
Bush is expected to speak publicly about his plans for business policy after his tour of the plant. The visit comes as the Bush campaign started pushing back against front-runner and firebrand Donald Trump whose bombastic comments have dominated media coverage. Earlier this week Trump fired at Bush on Twitter for speaking “Mexican” during a recent visit to the U.S. Mexico border.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 25, 2015
Bush is bilingual and frequently moves back and forth between English and Spanish. Bush called Trump’s comments “bizarre” and “illogical.” The campaign pushed back on Trump last week, highlighting his policy positions in an ad called “The Real Donald Trump,” which they say points to his liberal policy positions and his former voter registration as a Democrat. Still, Trump has kept a steady lead in the polls, most recently leading the 17-candidate pack with 30 percent of the vote according to a Mammoth University poll out this week. The poll’s surprise was the quiet surge into second place for neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, knocking Bush to third place.
Bush supporters hope a strategy of focusing on Bush’s Florida accomplishments and cutting through the Trump one-liners will drive the discussion to a real vision for the country and separate the talkers from the do-ers. Among those tasked with spreading that message in North Carolina will be Bush’s state steering committee announced last week. It includes big names in the state party, such as U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), state Sen. Tom Apodaca (R-Buncombe) and state Rep. Charles Jeter (R-Mecklenburg).