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Small Business Owners in Arizona Look to Trump for Relief

Small Business Owners in Arizona Look to Trump for Relief
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Richard Jandrew packs a stack of papers in an oversized printing machine at his family business in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. He prints advertising fliers, posters and business forms for local clients in this resort town northwest of Phoenix, in Mohave County, Arizona, one of the most Republican counties in the United States.

Richard’s wife, Patricia, works on the books in the front office of the company.

The Jandrews are Trump supporters. “There’s no punches to be pulled, there’s no secrets,” said Patricia, who like her husband is a native of Syracuse, New York. “He tells it the way it is,” she says of President Trump.

Richard Jandrew says they understand Trump’s blustery style. “He’s always been that way. That’s Trump,” he said. “We’re New Yorkers. We know that’s how he's always been.”

They look to the president to offer tax relief for their business.

“Everybody needs to pay taxes,” said Patricia. “I get that, but we need a little help, especially in these rural communities.” Lake Havasu City has a permanent population of just over 50,000, but it soars to 80,000 in the winter months when visitors come from California, as well as from more northern and colder U.S. states and Canada.

The Jandrews bought the business, called Jet Printing, from its founder in 2015. Patricia says she did not realize how much they would be taxed.

She says she would love to be able to give benefits to her nine employees, who are the backbone of the business, but cannot afford to. She says that under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, her family’s medical insurance premiums have soared to more than $2,300 a month, adding to business costs and taxes that leave them struggling many months to make ends meet.

Both husband and wife are committed Republicans who believe that Democrats have pursued a losing strategy.

“You can’t keep taxing the rich because eventually, they ain’t going to want to pay,” says Richard. “What are they doing again? Oh yeah, moving away.”

Offshore competition worries their son, Tristan, an account executive with the family company and part-time student in business communication at Arizona State University. At 23, he is the oldest of the family's three children.

Calling himself a political moderate, Tristan says he was impressed with Democrat Bernie Sanders, who lost his party’s nomination to Hillary Clinton. So far, he’s not impressed with Donald Trump.

The main issue for him? “Definitely jobs coming back,” he says, “but jobs not in old industries that we’re not really expanding in any more. I know that China is doing a lot of big things with solar energy. Trump has said he wants to compete with China,” and should be creating jobs in sustainable energy, he says.

He considers what he has seen from Trump so far as a smokescreen. But he’s reserving judgment.

“We’re going to see if the checks and balances of our system work,” said Tristan, “and if he's going to actually do something that is going to be viable in the long term.”

Divided over Trump, this family agrees on one thing: they want the economy to work for all Americans. The parents think Trump can do it. The son, a skeptic, says he is cautiously watching.