Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Iowa: President Obama Has Breakfast With Small Business Owners At Rausch’s Café In Guttenberg

Manure broker, wind energy expert, greenhouse owners, & IT expert join President to talk rural biz issues...

Ahead of hosting his Rural Economic Forum in Peosta, Iowa, President Obama on Tuesday morning stopped for breakfast with five small business owners at Rausch’s Café in Guttenberg. Arriving at 10:15 AM, the President dined on eggs, bacon, and wheat toast, and talked rural issues with his companions, who were two greenhouse owners, one IT specialist, a manure broker, and a fellow who specializes in wind energy. (Above: The President and his guests)

Before breakfast, President Obama greeted local farmers in front of the small eatery, which has the slogan "Breakfast Served All Day Every Day!"

Inside, President Obama held a baby to cries of "aww" from excited breakfasters, and spoke with diners, including a child who described school life as a rising 7th grader.

"That's pretty exciting," President Obama said.

The President's guests, all from Iowa, were Michael Sexton, owner of ManureWorks LLC in Rockwell City; Kenneth Hach, Anemometry Specialists, of Alta; Joel Althoff, Infrastructure Technology Solutions, of Monticello; and Eric and Fern Unruh, owners of Rolling Hills Greenhouse, West Union. The White House called the breakfast an "opportunity for the President to hear directly from rural small business owners about their experiences and highlight the steps his administration has taken to assist them." The President invited them to the Rural Economic Forum, and three, including Althoff, showed up for the small business breakout session with SBA Administrator Karen Mills.


During his 15-minute appearance at Mills' breakout session, the President described the breakfast table conversation. From the White House transcript:

"I had the chance to have breakfast with a couple of your panelists here, and -- three of them, actually -- and I was just struck by the creativity and the stick-to-it-ness that so many businesses here are exhibiting.

The good news, Karen, is all of them, uniformly, on a bipartisan basis, felt that the SBA, their local SBA office, is doing a great job and working really hard. So there you go. Just wanted you to know. (Laughter.) They were talking behind your back, and it was good.

At the same time, I think that there was a sense, in the conversation I had at breakfast this morning, that issues of credit are still a problem. In particular, smaller businesses and startup businesses -- $100,000, $200,000 -- getting that initial startup capital oftentimes was a challenge.

And we also heard that getting help on things like marketing could make a big difference for businesses that want to break out beyond their immediate communities, and -- particularly if they’re competing with larger businesses, even if they think they’ve got a better product.

So what I said to them is the same thing that I say to the entire group: We genuinely believe that small business is the backbone of America. It’s going to be the key for us to be able to put a lot of folks back to work. What we’re looking for is, how can we do our jobs better? How can the SBA or USDA or any of the other federal agencies that touch on rural America on a regular basis help you create the jobs and businesses and ideas that I think are so evident in a lot of communities all across the country.

We also heard, by the way, that there are a lot of young people, I think, who want to be more entrepreneurial. And so are there ways that we can connect, for example, the community colleges -- but even beneath that, high schools -- to help young people think about how they go about organizing getting a business started.

So that’s my initial report from breakfast, and what I want to do is just hear from all of you. And Karen will be taking copious notes, and she is somebody who I know is going to execute on any ideas that make sense."


The President started the second day of his three-state bus tour with a workout at Team Rehab gym in Decorah, where he spent the night at the Winneshiek Hotel. His 26-vehicle motorcade passed through Garnavillo and Calmar, before stopping in Guttenberg for breakfast. (Above: The President as baby whisperer)

Michele Bachmann is ubiquitous...

In the cafe, one of the poolers on duty quizzed local resident Larkin Rutledge, 63, of Guttenberg, on his thoughts on the presidential visit. Rutledge's niece's sister-in-law is Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), and he was in Waterloo with Bachmann and her family when she made her presidential announcement, he said. So Rutledge announced that politically, he is no fan of Mr. Obama Still, he appreciated the President's visit.

"This is wild. I'm glad to be here," Rutledge said. "I respect his office. I respect him as a person."

Rutledge said Al Gore came through Guttenberg in 2000 during his presidential campaign, and he shook hands with Pat Buchanan during his presidential bid.

Info: Rausch's is at 123 N. Hwy 52, Guttenberg, IA. Phone: 563-252-2102.

*AP photos

No comments:

Post a Comment