Promoting Small Business on Capitol Hill
May 26, 2011
I just returned from the annual HARDI fly-in in Washington,
D.C. Distributors from around the country converged on Capitol Hill for a
jam-packed day of lobbying on behalf of their businesses.
I got to tag along with a few distributors from Illinois,
and I could tell they were happy with the reception they got in the freshmen
House offices. In fact, one time when we entered the office of a new House
representative, his staffer looked down at the HARDI agenda and said, “Looking
at this list, it looks like this will be a pretty easy meeting.” It was obvious
that both the staffer and the distributors were in agreement that the economy
is tough, and government needs to remove barriers that prevent small businesses
I also noticed that many people were more interested in
urging Congress to balance the federal budget than in lobbying for tax credits
that might help them personally.
One of the highlights of the HARDI event was a breakfast
meeting with two big-name speakers: Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Sen. Richard
Burr, R-N.C. Both of these senators have introduced legislation that HARDI
strongly supports, and both received standing ovations after their speeches.
(I’ll be covering their bills in more detail in an upcoming cover story.)
Both senators were impressive, but I gotta say that Rand
Paul really stood out. Burr looked and sounded like a typical politician: tan,
well-coiffed, tall, and given to speaking in perfect soundbites. Paul was
short, curly-haired, talked a mile a minute, and appeared genuinely honest.
“I’m pro-business - small, big, whatever,” he said, and that certainly endeared
him to the audience.