Last week, I shared some of the details of my meeting with members of the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy. Yesterday, after being referred by Gina McCauley, host of the Blogging While Brown conference where I spoke earlier this year, I seized the opportunity to share with Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee (pictured with me below), some of my concerns about “consumer-business owners,” and about lawmakers's support of legislation that would unnecessarily decimate small businesses.
While my focus was on small cosmetics manufacturers, due to the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 (see this website for in-depth commentary and updates), I also expressed concern about the relationship between the high unemployment rate and the lack of support for very tiny startup businesses. Here is how Kaine and his staffers responded — my paraphrasing of course:
Two-Pronged Approach To Economic Recovery. Kaine said that there are two parts to the Obama Administration's approach to stabilization of the economy. The first, which has just passed, is the stabilization of the banking and housing markets. The second is the creation of tax cuts and small business loan funding, including legislation that passed the Senate yesterday, establishing a $30 billion government fund to help open up lending for small businesses, cut their taxes and boost Small Business Administration loan programs. (ABC News coverage.) Kaine stated that these measures should address some of my concerns.
Barber Shop & Beauty Salon Meetups. Steve L. Walker, the Southern Regional Director of Organizing For America, a DNC project, said that “Beauty & Barber Shop” meetups are planned as a way to get people together to discuss issues affecting very tiny businesses. I was excited to hear this, especially since I serve beauty and barber industry participants. I'm looking forward to following up with Walker to make sure that my IBN members have a chance to participate in these discussions and share how new cosmetics legislation will affect their ability to successfully own and manage profitable cosmetics-related businesses.
New Media Outreach. While Kaine said that an outside firm has been hired to handle the DNC's traditional media buys for upcoming campaigns, an internal group of social media practitioners are handling outreach to voters via social media. As Kaine put it, “Once an ad runs, it's gone; then after the election's over, it's gone forever. But the build-up of people via social media never ever goes away.” As they did in the 2008 elections, it's clear that the Obama campaign is poised to maximize the use of social media to reach voters.
This was confirmed by Greg Greene, the DNC's Director of New Media Outreach.
It Is Good To Participate
Kaine was present in the meeting for well over an hour, and his staff stayed long after that to continue the conversation. I am excited to see the head of the DNC taking the time to meet with bloggers to discuss voter concerns. While my main focus was on small businesses, my fellow bloggers in attendance expressed numerous other concerns. Kaine and the staffers we open-minded and seemed genuinely interested in addressing everyone's points of view, and also encouraged everyone to continue the conversations as we move closer to mid-term elections and, of course, another presidential election.
I am excited to have so many significant opportunities to represent my members to as many people as possible, especially those influencing the lawmaking process first-hand.
While I was unable to collect the contact information for all bloggers in attendance, I did connect with: Danielle Celena Belton, JJ Ghatt, Kristal High (for Politic 365 and Leutisha Stills (for Jack and Jill Politics). There were many others, so if you were there and I didn't get your info, please leave a comment here so we can connect.
It's Not About Politics — It's About People
Too many Americans are suffering, and that is not a political issue. Jobs are not a political issue. Each of us, regardless of political party affiliation, should do our part to pave the way for all Americans to successfully build wealth through small (or tiny) business ownership. I am hoping to create an opportunity to meet with Michael Steele, head of the Republic National Committee, to discuss similar issues. (Something for the vision board …)
Question: What would you tell Tim Kaine if you had the chance? What would you tell Michael Steele?