MIAMI COUNTY — Two Miami County residents invited as guests to the president’s State of the Union described the experience as “humbling” and a “true honor.”
Local business owner Steve Staub of Tipp City and Troy Fire Chief Matt Simmons attended President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address on Tuesday.
The president called for unity and touched on immigration, the economy, drugs and North Korea. Trump’s speech featured personal stories from people including a New Mexico policeman and his wife who adopted a baby from parents who suffered from opioid addiction, the parents of teenage daughters who were allegedly murdered by members of the MS-13 gang and local business owners Staub and Sandy Keplinger.
It was a “phenomenal experience” meeting the other guests invited and hearing their stories, Staub said.
“I’m just an average guy from Ohio,” he said.
The White House extended an invitation to Staub and Kepingler, the owners of Staub Manufacturing in Dayton, as well as one of their employees, Corey Adams, to highlight the benefits of the tax bill.
Staub Manufacturing has grown from 23 to 37 employees over the last year and recently acquired a new building. Following enactment of tax reform legislation last year, the company gave all its employees larger than expected Christmas bonuses.
Staub has been in touch with the Trump administration since the president, then still a candidate, toured the company on the 2016 campaign trail. Last year, he was part of a round table discussion on manufacturing with the president. He met Trump again on Tuesday, as well as Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen, before being invited to play a few rounds in the White House bowling alley.
Staub said he feels heard by this administration, which he thinks is doing what is best for industry and the country. In 2016, Staub said Trump asked him what his industry needs to grow. Staub told him the industry would benefit from tax reform, healthcare reform and regulatory reform, as well as a solution to the opioid crisis.
“And he said, ‘I’m going to work on it,’” Staub recalled. “Last night after the State of the Union … he looked at me and he said, ‘Steve, we’re going to get this done.’”
Simmons accepted an invitation to attend the address from Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Troy), who wanted to highlight Miami County’s response to the opioid epidemic.
The fire department has worked with the Miami County Recovery Council to establish the Quick Response Team, a team that visits the homes of people who have recently experienced drug abuse emergencies.
“It’s really different from where a lot of other communities are,” Simmons said. “And Mr. Davidson, I think everyone is well aware that he’s a faith driven man. Our concept here in our county of the faith component of our model is really prevalent … That’s why Mr. Davidson wanted to reach out and have me come.”
He said he spoke to a representative from Idaho about Miami County’s opioid response efforts and how the program could be duplicated elsewhere.
He added that the address was an amazing speech that spoke highly of the military and first responders, something that stood out to Simmons as a veteran and public servant. The self-proclaimed history buff said he also enjoyed spending time in the Capitol building for the State of the Union.
Overall, Simmons said representing the community at the event was “humbling” and called the invitation “the highlight of my career.”
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