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President Trump To Speak At Shale Conference In Pittsburgh On Wednesday

Darron Cummings

President Donald Trump will travel to Pittsburgh next Wednesday to appear at an oil and gas industry event at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. He will be the keynote speaker at the annual Shale Insight conference, which is organized by the Marcellus Shale Coalition.

Trump's appearance will be an official White House visit, rather than a campaign rally. But the distinction can be hard to make:  Trump's previous visit to the area — a September stop at the site of a "cracker plant" under construction in Beaver County — mixed Trump's praise of the energy sector with musings about his reelection bid and insults directed at political rivals. And with would-be Trump challengers like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren pledging to ban fracking, the issue has special resonance in a state that is crucial to Trump's re-election prospects.

On Tuesday, a senior Trump campaign officials told reporters in a conference call that Pennsylvania "is obviously a big priority for the campaign," which the official said had maintained a robust presence on the ground since Trump's 2016 victory in the state.

“We’ll be all hands on deck" for the president's visit, said Pittsburgh Public Safety director Wendell Hissrich, referring to the Bureau of Police, as well as fire and emergency medical services.

Hissrich said they expect the president to arrive in the afternoon and depart a few hours later. The parkway inbound and then outbound will shut down to accommodate his travel. However, Hissirch said he won’t be able to share road closure specifics until early next week.

Nearly three decades after leaving home for college, Chris Potter now lives four miles from the house he grew up in -- a testament either to the charm of the South Hills or to a simple lack of ambition. In the intervening years, Potter held a variety of jobs, including asbestos abatement engineer and ice-cream truck driver. He has also worked for a number of local media outlets, only some of which then went out of business. After serving as the editor of Pittsburgh City Paper for a decade, he covered politics and government at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He has won some awards during the course of his quarter-century journalistic career, but then even a blind squirrel sometimes digs up an acorn.