Well today in a run-off election day in Georgia. I live in DeKalb County, outside of Atlanta and I am Democrat so I have 2 run off races to vote in: DeKalb Sheriff and School Superintendent. Aside from the politics and interesting dynamic I have of being an elected official representing portions of DeKalb County, let’s talk about the importance of policy to YOUR business.
As a business owner, I hold you to a higher standard than most Americans. Yes—-I do. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that there are about 316 million Americans as of 2013, with 7.4 million non-farm businesses as of 2012. (Cite) That means that if you are a non-farm business owner, I count you among the elite 2.34% of individuals that should be engaged in the policy making process that FIRST begins with voting.
I have the honor of serving as the ranking Democrat on the Georgia House of RepresentativesSmall Business and Job Creation Committee as the only attorney on the committee. While other bills related to education, taxes, and crime go through other committees, the focus of this committee is to make it easier for businesses to do business in Georgia. (Pictured below: July 22nd 2014 after voting at my local precinct.)
Here are some other ways to get involved in the policy making process. No excuses! I hate to be so dramatic but with a voting record that is less than 25% of the voting age population, drama is needed to underline the IMPORTANCE of making sure you stay involved as a business owner. (Cite) Politicians decide not only your personal quality of life but your BUSINESS quality of life….which is directly related to your personal quality of life. You owe it to yourself, your family, your customers and employees to GET INVOLVED. There’s very little excuse why NOT to get involved
- Vote. It’s the easiest thing to do. Georgians can now register ONLINE to vote so there is no excuse. Once those you know turn 17.5 years old, they can register to vote (like I did). And when I say VOTE…I mean every chance you get, no matter if the President is on the ballot or not, if there is a run-off election or not. Many times, a few people decide elections. I won my election with about 12,000 votes out of 54,000 people that I represent.
- Show up to hearings. If you are in Georgia, the legislative website will usually post hearings (only about 24 hours in advance unfortunately) but show up. Ask to testify. Ask to give YOUR story. You’ll be surprised how influential stories are that I hear in my committee meetings that help me decide how to vote on a business issue. If you are interested in being on my enewsletter to hear about hearings for my committees during the 2015 legislation session, visit my website.
- Give time, resources and money to your political candidate of choice. I won’t say much about this subject so moving on…..
- Lobby your legislator. Lobbying is not just for professional, money heavy lobbyists that you hear about in the news. You can be a lobbyist in the informal sense of the word when you, as a Georgia native, write your legislator a letter or email or visit us under the Gold Dome and ask to speak with us outside of our chambers. Do it! You should come down to visit YOUR Gold Dome anyway.
- Propose legislation. It happens ALL the time. Our best (and worse) ideas come from normal Georgians that experience a problem and want something fixed or an idea. They contact a legislator and that legislator drafts the legislation to make it law. It’s that simple. I welcome proposals.
Well I hope that this gave you a few ways that YOU as an elite business owner can get involved and stay involved in the important policy making process that is a part of the American system of government. You have a unique opportunity as a business owner to influence policy but many of you don’t know how or are too busy to engage in this important process. I hope this post changes your mind.