VP Pence, Ivanka Trump Tout Tax Cuts As Growth Engine During Jacksonville Visit

Jul 26, 2019

Vice President Mike Pence and Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump were in Jacksonville Friday to showcase the job opportunities they say are being driven by corporate tax cuts and apprenticeship programs. 

In her remarks at Miller Electric, the president’s daughter said that the family-owned company’s growth shows her father’s administration’s policies are working.  

“So that is exactly what we want to see and I think that’s a really beautiful segue into what we’re here today celebrating, which is job creation and opportunity and pathways to those opportunities,” she said.    

Since corporate tax cuts took effect last year, Miller Electric has added more than 300 jobs and made more than $20 million in capital investments, including $17.1 million to move the company’s headquarters from Riverside to Jacksonville’s Southside.

Related: Vice President Pence And Ivanka Trump Are Visiting Jacksonville Friday

Senior Vice President Donnie Smith said the tax cuts are helping Miller Electric adapt to a changing industry. 

“Electrical work used to be an outlet and lights,” he said. “Well now it’s so much more. We’re working in data centers, healthcare — healthcare is big — energy, car charging stations. We’re doing all those things for all our clients.”

The 91-year-old company, which employs 2,000 people in 16 locations across the country, has ramped up its apprenticeship with the help of the National Electrical Contractors Association. Miller Electric currently has over 500 apprentices. 

Last year, President Donald Trump established the National Council for American Workers, a White House jobs training initiative, through an executive order. Miller Electric was among the first companies to sign on, a point both Pence and Ivanka Trump made. 

“On behalf of the people of Florida, the people of Jacksonville and people all across the country, let me just say thank you to Miller Electric for committing to the future and the jobs and opportunities for people here in Jacksonville,” said Pence.    

Pence and Ivanka Trump also visited Operation New Hope, a Jacksonville nonprofit that provides job training for people with criminal records, for a roundtable discussion along with Governor Ron DeSantis. 

Operation New Hope has a history of attracting the attention of presidential administrations.

In 2003, President George W. Bush selected the nonprofit as the pilot site for Ready4Work program, according to the nonprofit’s website. The agency was also highlighted by President Bill Clinton in his book, Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World. President Barack Obama has also pointed to the work Operation New Hope is doing.

Pence praised Operation New Hope’s mission, but assured the crowd that the Trump administration will continue to be tough on crime. 

“This president and I want America to be the worst place in the world to commit a serious crime,” he said. “But we also want to be the best place in the world. Once you’ve done your time, you get a second chance. For people that are willing to choose a better path, choose an honest life, we’re going to continue to work for opportunities.”  

Miller Electric has partnered with Operation New Hope to help train and place those who have served their time.

Contact Abukar Adan at 904-358-6319, aadan@wjct.org or on Twitter at @abukaradan17