Defining Small Business Champions by their actions, not their words

Politicians frequently scramble to procure the support of small business owners and their networks during campaigns.

Candidates provide plenty of lip-service to small businesses while promising to prioritize their interests should they be elected. Candidates know the small business community is robust and full of potential voters that can catapult them to victory. There is no shortage of slogans repeated during campaigns designed to garner the support of small businesses and their advocates.

Small business owners may feel valued during political campaigns. The often-elusive question for the small business community is whether campaign promises translate into action.

There are politicians that absolutely prioritize the interests of small businesses and entrepreneurs. However, information overload coupled with the disjointed nature of the legislative process makes it difficult to decipher which politicians truly have the back of the small business community.

The Small Business Advocacy Council is launching an initiative to identify the legislators that support the small business community. These politicians will be identified as Small Business Champions.

Politicians will not be measured by their words. They will not be assessed by their political affiliations. Rather, legislators will be measured by their actions. They will earn this designation by sponsoring and voting for legislation that supports small businesses and local communities.

The criteria by which politicians will be judged is not complex. State legislation will be formulated by small business advocates and filed in 2023. This legislation will be laser-focused on supporting small businesses, improving the economic climate for the small business community, and leveling the playing field for local entrepreneurs. Politicians will be asked to sponsor this legislation and if given the opportunity, vote in favor of these bills.

Small businesses continue struggling to hire employees and this is having a significant impact on their operations. Many small business owners reading this column are likely nodding in agreement.

The price of goods is also affecting small businesses in a profound manner. It seems the prospect of rising health insurance premiums looms on the horizon as well.

With these and other challenges facing small businesses, there has never been a more important time for the small business community to identify and celebrate political champions.

The goal is for every legislator to sponsor and vote in favor of bills that will support small businesses if given the chance. Of course, we welcome the engagement of policymakers in the formation of the SBAC's agenda as well. There are already legislators engaged in the process and their guidance helps generate bills which can withstand scrutiny through the legislative process.

Many small business owners and entrepreneurs do not have the financial resources to make significant contributions to multiple political campaigns. Small business owners rarely have the time to volunteer for numerous candidates. The small business community does have critical mass, a compelling tool by which to hold politicians accountable and support policymakers fighting for small businesses.

We must celebrate the politicians that understand the crucial role the small business community plays in fostering economic growth, creating jobs, and supporting local communities.

We will highlight these small business champions and provide them the recognition they deserve for standing with small businesses.

• Elliot Richardson is co-founder and president of the Small Business Advocacy Council.

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