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Scrima declines invite on President Obama's visit to Waukesha

Mayor says his position "ought to be non-partisan"

Jan. 28, 2014

The president of the United States is coming to Waukesha.

President Barack Obama will speak Thursday morning at General Electric's Waukesha Gas Engines manufacturing facility, 1101 W. St. Paul Ave.

Obama's visit comes two days after he delivers his State of the Union address.

According to a news release, he is expected to appear at the local facility around 11:20 a.m. and will be speaking on the economy.

Waukesha Mayor Jeff Scrima was invited to the event by White House staff but has declined to attend.

"Although I've assisted our local businesses in adding a record number of over 700 new family supporting jobs to Waukesha during the last four years, because the position of mayor ought to be nonpartisan, I will be passing on this visit from Washington," Scrima said.

Scrima added he has not attended any Republican-based events during his tenure as mayor. He said this includes when U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan visited Waukesha, including during the lead-up to the 2012 Presidential Election when Ryan was announced as Mitt Romney's vice presidential running mate.

Along with his stop in Waukesha, Obama will visit a few other cities across the country in the days after his State of the Union address.

He will arrive in Milwaukee on Wednesday afternoon and stay overnight.

Details of what Obama will exactly talk about at the facility were vague earlier this week.

But a GE representative expressed gratitude for the president picking their business to visit.

"We're excited," said Arvind Gopalratnam, a GE spokesman. "It's a great spotlight on what we're doing here at GE, not only what we're doing across the United States, but right here in Waukesha. It's a great honor."

The event is closed to the public. Gopalratnam said it will be open to some employees at the facility.

Obama's Air Force One will depart from Milwaukee shortly after his visit Thursday afternoon.

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