Hometown visit shares Braun’s mindset

Photos by Sarah Ann Jump/The Herald
U.S. Sen. Mike Braun leads a tour of his business, Meyer Distributing, for his Indiana- and Washington, D.C.-based staff members during a retreat in Jasper this morning. 

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

JASPER — Mike Braun wanted his staff to know about the place where he was born and raised.

The U.S. senator brought his entire state and Washington, D.C. staff, more than 30 people, to Jasper for two days, to show them around.

“I thought it was important for them to see the roots of where I come from,” he said this morning. “I’ve always cited the fact that my mentors have been my parents and my community.”

On Tuesday, Terry Seitz, Braun’s Indiana outreach director, showed the visitors the various Jasper sites, such as the Riverwalk, the Parklands, the Jasper Mill and St. Joseph’s Church. They ate at the Schnitzelbank Tuesday night.

“Jasper is as cute as a button,” said Katie Bailey, Braun’s legislative director. She is from Collinsville, Illinois, and has been to Indiana, but never Jasper.

“It’s so clean and picturesque,” she said. “I was in Florida recently, and there was trash everywhere. You don’t see any of that here. It’s beautiful.”

This morning, Braun showed the group around his company, Meyer Distributing. They toured the buildings in the industrial district on the north side of town, going through the warehouses where crews were filling orders, and touring the corporate office on Cathy Lane. They also got to see Braun’s modest-sized office in the building on 25th Street, which is down the street from the corporate office.

“He’s told us that his (D.C.) office is the biggest office he’s ever had,” Bailey said. After taking turns going down the short hall to see his Meyer office — Braun stayed in the front lobby so as not to be in the way — they understood what he meant.

U.S. Sen. Mike Braun leads a tour of his business, Meyer Distributing, for his Indiana- and Washington, D.C.-based staff members during a retreat in Jasper this morning.

Braun explained how the company grew from his father’s business of manufacturing truck bodies and selling truck accessories to acquiring in 1986 the former Meyer Body Inc., which manufactured truck bodies and distributed truck parts and equipment. Braun became the sole owner in 1995 and renamed the business Meyer Distributing in 1999.

Now the company has 3.1 million square feet of space, 1.2 million of that being in Jasper. Through different acquisitions over the years, other Meyer locations are located in more than 25 states.

“This is a lot different from where we started, as a single-wide,” Braun told his staff.

Three of his four children work at the company. Three years ago, the company added RV parts and accessories to its services. “Anything that is big and bulky, easy to damage, hard to handle, we love it,” he said, laughing with the group.

The group will leave today, and eventually return to their regular duties. But Braun wanted them to understand his mindset a little more intimately, to understand why he does and focuses on the things he does.

“I think when you see a place like Jasper, it’s easier to figure out how a guy like me decided to move back to it and get involved in politics,” Braun said.

This is Braun’s first term as a U.S. senator. Prior to that, he was a state representative for three years.

His general schedule has him working in Washington, D.C. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. He then flies home to be with his wife, Maureen, and family, before returning to the nation’s capital on Mondays.




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