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Pence Visits Kokomo GM Plant, Applauds 'Inspiring' Effort To Make Ventilators

PBS Newshour

Vice President Mike Pence was back home again in Indiana Thursday to visit a General Motors plant in Kokomo.

The auto manufacturer, in partnership with medical device-maker Ventec, is producing 30,000 ventilators to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pence met with company leaders and factory workers. He told GM CEO Mary Barra what he saw was inspiring.

"When President Trump and you spoke about this, it was - he made it very clear that we weren’t just going to have a 'whole of government' approach, we needed a 'whole of America' approach," Pence says.

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One GM worker, a 43-year veteran of the company introduced only as George, told Pence he delayed his retirement to help make the ventilators.

“We move roadblocks. Any little roadblock gets in the way, we just move along, we move along, we move along," George says. "And I have never seen anything like it in my life.”

George says he feels like he's fighting in a world war to help produce the medical equipment.

Another worker – introduced as Erin – says she and her fellow employees are on a mission.

“We want these ventilators to get out to the people that could be our parents, could be our children, could be our neighbor," Erin says. "You know, you think about that when you’re in the manufacturing. You want to make sure that you’re putting your all.”

Pence did wear a mask when touring the facility after he was criticized for not doing so earlier this week at the Mayo Clinic.

Contact Brandon at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

This is a rapidly evolving story, and we are working hard to bring you the most up-to-date information. However, we recommend checking the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Indiana State Department of Health for the most recent numbers of COVID-19 cases.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.