March 29, 2023

Why small businesses should vote in the midterms

4 min read

If you’re a small business owner, I want to urge you to vote in the midterm elections. Yes, I know you’re busy with your small business, and fall is a hectic time. You may think, “Why bother?”

What our elected officials do, and who they are, matter to you and your small business a great deal.

You certainly know politicians affect your taxes and regulations, but there’s so much more. Who you vote for affects a dramatic number of policies and programs impacting your company. As importantly, who we choose to lead us also shapes the very nature of our society, our economy and our democracy.

America has become so partisan, with voters choosing candidates simply because they have a (D) or an (R) next their name. But you wouldn’t hire an employee based on their party affiliation alone, and you shouldn’t vote that way either.

The older I get, the more I choose candidates based on competence.

Just as I would when I select someone for a position in my company, I want to make sure they can actually do the job and do the job well.

Some key factors I look for include:

  • · Temperament and empathy
  • · Intelligence and experience
  • · Ability to compromise and work with others

This year, many small business voters will also judge candidates on major questions.

Will they vote for programs that create opportunities for small businesses?

In the last two years, three major programs have been enacted that will create numerous business opportunities for small companies.

The huge Infrastructure Investment and Jobs bill, passed in 2021 with bipartisan support, provides $1.2 trillion to build and repair America’s physical and digital infrastructure. Many of the contractors and subcontractors for such work will be small construction companies.

President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act provides homeowners with significant incentives for retrofitting their homes to be more climate sensitive and will certainly increase demand for small businesses in the HVAC and home improvement space.

And the CHIPS Act of 2022 dramatically expands semiconductor manufacturing in the US, which offers opportunities for small manufacturers to support such enterprises.

What will they do about inflation?

Although there is very little the president or Congress or your local elected officials can do about inflation, leadership through challenging economic times matters. Virtually every economist will tell you that inflation is significantly impacted by consumer attitudes.

If we want to keep inflation under control, it’s critical to vote for leaders who exude a sense of calmness, unity and confidence rather than increasing rancor and partisanship.

Will they support a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions?

Women own 21% of employer businesses in the US and 40% of “non-employer” businesses. After the Supreme Court overthrew the Roe decision, many states are depriving women the right to make some of their most difficult and personal health care decisions.

If you’ve ever known a woman who has faced the tragic decision to end a much-wanted pregnancy to protect her own health or ability to bear children, then you know health care issues are extremely complicated and intensely personal.

Take, for example, Chrissy Teigen who had to have an abortion to save her chances at pregnancy and possibly save her life. Do you want the government — not the woman and her family — to make such decisions? For many women — and men — this is the most important reason to vote right now.

Are they supportive of a country where everyone thrives?

Or are they willing to appeal to racists, anti-Semites and anti-immigrants to win votes?

This isn’t just about fairness, it’s about support for all small businesses. The small business community is incredibly diverse. According to the SBA, nearly 19% of all businesses are minority-owned, and 21% of businesses were owned by immigrants.

Do they support democracy and the peaceful transition of power?

I remember when as a young girl my father explained to me how America was different from other countries because when one candidate lost, the loser accepted the results. Even a sitting president who was voted out of office would go gracefully.

In many states, there are candidates who still support “the big lie” that the last presidential election was not decided fairly. It was. And these candidates are, to be frank, a danger to our country. In the long run, they’re also a danger to your business as well as your well-being.

Issues affecting small businesses — and all Americans — today are much more than just taxes and paperwork. They’re even more than the economy, climate, health care, technology, education, crime, and other policies.

Voting today is also about choosing the future of our society and our democracy. And your vote matters.