Presidential visit No. 1: Mr. Reagan goes to Harley
In 1987, Ronald Reagan visited the Harley-Davidson motorcycle plant in Springettsbury Township. Plant employee Eric Myers, right, is sitting on the motorcycle. Employees remember Reagan’s charisma during the visit.
Harley-Davidson workers in York have struck the company three times since 1969.
Still, three U.S. presidents have visited York’s Harley plant in the past 20 years to, among other things, seek a political advantage by linking up with the venerable American cycle company.
Some bullet points from the first of these presidential pilgrimages:
President: Ronald Reagan, during his second term.
What people said about Reagan: “He was extremely popular in this area. People really cheered for him.” – Matt Glatfelter, then a Central High School student journalist covering the event for his school newspaper.
What Reagan said: He talked against tough trade sanctions then being considered in Congress and praised Harley for the company’s productive use of tariffs to regain its footing against foreign competition.
Memorable Reagan quote: “You cut the hours of work needed to make a motorcycle by one-third. You cut inventory by two-thirds. You tripled the number of defect-free machines you shipped. . . . You’re the only major motorcycle manufacturer in the world to have increased production last year. Like America, Harley is back and standing tall.”
Quirky moment No. 1: Matt Glatfelter almost didn’t get his press credentials, but diligence and a lot of phone calls paid off.
Missed quirky moment: President Reagan did not get on a hawg.