President Obama gets earful about NBEDC

NEW BEDFORD — Local businessman Jeff Armes made sure to mention the loan he got from the New Bedford Economic Development Council and how it helped him expand his business when he got a chance to chat with the president recently.
Armes and his wife Cheri flew out to Ohio on July 4 after learning they had won 20 minutes with President Barack Obama based on a $25 donation he made to the president’s re-election campaign.
After watching AirForce One touch down, the couple got to meet with the chief executive on his “Betting on America” bus.
Armes said he tried not to get too political, but did want to tell the president that his policies had had a positive effect on him.
“I said, you know Mr. President, that stimulus plan everybody said is not working, it’s worked fine for me, and that brought a smile to his face,” said Armes, who owns Tootle Chimney Sweep in New Bedford.
With a loan from the NBEDC, Armes expanded his chimney cleaning business to include a retail component in 2011. At the same time, he relocated the business from Acushnet to a New Bedford building.
“I told him that New Bedford and around here in Massachusetts, things are starting to pick up,” said Armes. “They’re slow, but I do see for hire signs around for factories.”
Other than an additional plug for helping small businesses access more capital, Armes said the conversation turned to family and personal experiences.
“Then we got to talking about our daughters and our families,” Armes is quoted as saying on the White House blog. “I’m from a single-parent family, and my mother raised five of us. The President said he knew how hard his mom had worked to raise him and his sister, and I told him I thought probably what made us both so strong is the women who brought us up. He seemed to like that.”
Armes called the president gracious and easy to talk to.
“He’s down-to-earth. After I started talking to him then I could open up,” he said.
Original Title: Local businessman chats with the president
By Beth Perdue
July 20, 2012 4:02 PM
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