Merrillville businessman captures national spotlight with letter to Obama

2012-11-15T20:00:00Z 2012-11-16T10:16:04Z Merrillville businessman captures national spotlight with letter to ObamaDiane Poulton Times Correspondent
November 15, 2012 8:00 pm  • 

CROWN POINT | A Tennessee man who grew up in Crown Point and co-owns a local business is garnering national attention after President Barack Obama mentioned a letter he wrote during Wednesday’s news conference.

In his letter, Steve Wise admits not voting for Obama but says, “I stand ready to support your efforts to move the U.S. forward and deliver solutions that will solve our important issues, especially as they relate to the economy.

“I am starting a new business so I expect I will be impacted by any solutions put in place,” Wise wrote. “My hope is that we can make progress in light of personal and party principles, special interest and years of business as usual. We’ve got to work together and put our differences aside.”

Wise, who graduated from Crown Point High School and Purdue University Calumet, received a call Tuesday from White House staff members asking permission for the president to use parts of the letter in his opening remarks.

“I was a bit surprised that it got that far, but it was pretty cool once it did achieve that level of recognition,” Wise said Thursday. “If it could bring some people together and start not talking about how we got here and start talking more about how we get it fixed, if that is the purpose it serves, then it did what I hoped it would do.”

Wise said he listened to the president’s speech on the radio as he drove home to Brentwood, Tenn., from Indianapolis.

“My hope is that we can get moving forward and work through the differences and make some kind of meaningful progress in fixing the problems in the economy,” Wise said.

Wise and his brother-in-law, Dr. Kevin Brunski, own an electronic medical records company, I-DENTI-FIED Inc., which is housed at the Purdue University Technology Center in Merrillville as part of the university’s program to incubate and aid new Indiana companies.

Wise’s sister, Susan Wise-Brunski, said she is proud of her brother.

“It shows you to speak up if you are not happy with what is going on,” Wise-Brunski said. “He is like the poster child, owning a small business. We keep telling him is like Joe the Plumber,” a reference to the Ohio man who briefly became popular after he asked a question of candidate Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign.

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