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Vt businesswoman to introduce President Obama - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt businesswoman to introduce President Obama

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

2008 is a year characterized by fear and anxiety for most Americans with the fall of Lehman Brothers and the start of the Great Recession. It's also a year of candidate Barack Obama, campaigning for change with a slogan of hope.

"Many of the slogans that the campaign used four years ago have manifested themselves in our lives," said Jeanne Morrissey, the president of J.A. Morrissey.

Morrissey opened her construction company 20 years ago. It's a business, like most, that's far from recession-proof. But Morrissey says they're a family, and she's not open to letting any workers go.

She said, "I don't really want to say goodbye to anybody, I only want to say hello."

Fortunately for Morrissey she didn't have to.

In 2008 the company's business volume was cut in half, but Morrissey never fired any employees. She says without the stimulus that never would have happened.

"It's a pretty smart bridge to build and I'm grateful to him for his leadership in the entire effort," she said.

By him she means President Obama. Morrissey has been selected as the Vermonter who'll not only introduce the president on his campaign trip to Vermont Friday, but she'll be giving a speech.

"I'm beside myself actually, very excited," she said.

She's an example of stimulus success. The president's stimulus package was intended to act as a shot in the arm to the U.S. economy. Morrissey says her company received at least $10 million-$15 million over four years in tax credits and direct grant funds.

Critics say the stimulus only prolonged our nation's debt and puts our grandchildren's economic futures at risk.

"One of the reasons our economy is growing so slowly is because we have this huge debt overhang and people are very worried about it, investors are very worried about it and it's causing a lot of uncertainty," Arthur Woolf said.

Woolf writes for a conservative blog and is an economics professor at the University of Vermont. He says the stimulus could be contributing to what's been called a wimpy recovery.

"It could be that we traded off a recession that wasn't as bad as it would have been for a period of much slower economic growth in the future," Woolf said.

But Morrissey says it kept her company afloat in a time where a campaign for change served as a beacon of hope. Needless to say she's still a strong supporter.

"He has my vote," she said.

Morrissey will introduce the president at 2:30 p.m. Friday. She says she's more worried about what she'll wear than what she'll say.

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