Presidential advisor stops in Wichita for business talks

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) "It's great to know that they can take time and stop by somebody as small as we are."

A small Kansas business gets some pretty big attention. Kent Kruse with Kruse Corporations is used to talking with big business, but Saturday, he was talking with big politics.

"Sometimes all of us Americans, myself included, sometimes we don't feel we have a voice, like nobody's listening up in high level government. This kind of changed my perception quite a bit to have somebody of a high stature come by and ask us what he can do to help," Kruse said.

Eric Branstad is a senior advisor to President Donald Trump in the Department of Commerce. He was in Wichita and other Midwest sites Saturday talking growth and wages.

"What we want to hear is what are your challenges and what is stopping you from growing? And I want to take those answers back to Washington D.C. and share with them, these are the challenges they're facing in Kansas and this is what's keeping them from growing and keeping them from rising wages and then we'll come back with how they're going to solve that," Branstad said.

One big topic was international business deals. Branstad highlighted deals with China and beef exports.

Organizers of the visit, including Brian McHuges, said that's positive.

"Guess what, we've got exports of our beef going to China so that's good news for Kansans," McHughes said. "It's all about jobs and the economy."

"This is a real export for America to China into a very large market," Branstad said. "This will mean something for business and the American worker in a very big way."

Cruse said since Trump began his presidency, he's seen changes to his customers. His company does HVAC, plumbing and other building and renovation work for commercial buildings.

"I have noticed a lot more optimism on our customer base," Kruse said. "Bigger companies locally that are looking at building bigger buildings, renovating their spaces because there seems to be genuine optimism in the business world."

Overall, Kruse said he appreciates somebody showing his voice matters.

"Why would Donald Trump care about us in Wichita? Kruse asks, saying sometimes it's easy to get down on ourselves. "it's nice to have somebody like Eric come through and let us know that they do, they do care."