Altamont Native Garrett Ziegler informed members and guests of the Effingham Country Chamber of Commerce about “America Under President Trump” during the Chamber’s First Friday luncheon.

Ziegler works in the White House as Senior Policy Analyst in the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy. He is the son of Mike and Anita Ziegler of Altamont and a 2014 Graduate of Altamont High School. Ziegler received a bachelor’s degree in economics at St. Louis University 2018, graduating magna cum laude.

He was named Effingham Daily News Athlete of the Year April of 2014 and interned for U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R%-Collinsville, at his Washington, D.C. Office through an Illinois State Society Congressional Intern Scholarship Award during the summer of 2016 when he was a junior at SLU.

Ziegler started the conversation by saying the thoughts he made at the luncheon where his thoughts alone and he wasn’t allowed to talk about any conversations he had with President Donald Trump.

“I wouldn’t be here literally if it weren’t for Craig Lindvahl,” Ziegler said, referring to the popular former teacher who died Thursday. “He was a terrific man and had a terrific legacy. He’s one of the best men to come through Effingham County. He started the CEO program and is respected all over the Midwest.

“We’ll miss him,” Ziegler added.

Ziegler said his family immigrated to the U.S. from southwest Germany, then to St. Louis and came to Effingham County in approximately 1861.

“The story of the county is quite phenomenal,” Ziegler said. “I want to spark a new appreciation for the uniqueness of Effingham County.”

He said Effingham County is different than counties in Illinois due to it’s central location, fertile ground, tremendous business community and faith. Ziegler mentioned several businesses in the area that are making a difference in the county.

“We have a lot to be proud of,” Ziegler said. “We are a special county. Regardless of what goes on in Washington and Springfield there is hope here.”

Ziegler recognized Chuck Keller as being the reason we are here today. He said he never knew him but gave him credit for bringing both Interstates 50 and 57 through Effingham.

“I was not aware of his role in getting the two interstates to cross here in Effingham,” Ziegler said. “And he was a Democrat.”

“Chuck Keller’s legacy is still going on today,” Ziegler said. “I thank Chuck Keller and think of him whenever a business decides to set up shop at the intersection of the interstates.”

“Like Chuck Keller I would like to resurrect his legacy,” Ziegler said about economist Friedrich List who he said had influenced his thinking about the economy.

“He was the best economist of the 19th century,” Ziegler said. “We are not going to have a country left if we give up all of our industries.”

Ziegler talked about his position in the White House and how his position falls under the leadership of Peter Navarro who is closer to the President. He talked about a speech Trump made about the economy in June of 2018 highlighting a few points from the speech.

Ziegler went over the four guideposts of Trump’s 2018 speech to include tax reform, prudent deregulation, energy extraction and fair and reciprocal trade.

He also went over the seven promises Trump kept during his campaign including withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, found the toughest negotiators, directed the Secretary of Commerce to prosecute trade violations, do a total renegotiation of North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and threaten to withdraw if you do not get what you want, label China a currency inflater, prosecute China at the World Trade Organization (WTO) and if China does not stop its illegal behavior tariffs would be imposed.

“So, the two trade laws we invoked were the Trade Act of 1974 and Trade Expansion Act of 1972,” Ziegler said.

Charles Mills can be reached at or by phone at 217-347-7151 ext. 126.

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Charles Mills is reporter and videographer for the Effingham Daily News. A 1983 graduate of Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, he worked as senior video editor for a Nashville television station. He is a native of Vandalia.