Join the PAC Featured

9:49am EDT July 22, 2002

In this pre-primary season, we are all enjoying fall evenings that are free of attack-style political ads, but now is the time to do some homework. Before the mudslinging begins again, let’s decide which candidate will best represent the needs of business in your region.

We should not wait for the politicians to bring the campaign to us for the next election. We should demand clear positions now on issues that matter for businesses. Together, we can make the candidates hear our voices and address our concerns.

On a daily basis during the past 10 years, we have received numerous telephone calls, letters, faxes and most recently e-mails with questions on many topics and issues that affect businesses.

Because of our large readership, leaders within the business community have looked at us as much more than a chain of local business publications. We are viewed as a large advocate of business and are in a position to influence change.

In an extra effort to help our readers make the most informed decisions come Election Day, we are considering starting our own Political Action Committee along with a newsletter that would help educate and inform our readers on the politicians running for office. This would be sent to anyone who would like to participate.

For those unfamiliar with the political process, a PAC is an independent organization that provides more financial flexibility than individual campaign donations, allowing groups of people to pool their resources to educate voters on issues that may affect them. Individual campaign finance limits don’t apply to PACs.

Congress opened the doors for PACs in the wake of Watergate in 1976, when it passed a campaign finance act that allowed people at the federal and local levels to form groups that wielded more power through their combined donations. Besides donating money directly to a candidate that supports ideals shared by members of the PAC, these organizations can independently finance television and radio ads for or against candidates or issues.

Some major organizations, such as the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, AFL/CIO and Teamsters Union have their own PACs to further their causes.

The goals of this PAC would be to:

1. Donate money to candidates who are pro business, regardless of political party affiliation.

2. Create a more unified voice for business owners and leaders, and bring attention to the issues that affect them.

3. Educate our readers about issues that may affect their businesses and the politicians who have a direct influence on corresponding legislation.

4. Influence change to help businesses grow and prosper.

Our right to vote is a privilege and should not be taken lightly. Many people don’t bother to get involved because they don’t see the importance of voting and elections, or the power that politicians wield over the business community.

Take, for instance, the two people who represent your state in the U.S. Senate. Members of the Senate help shape federal laws and regulations that affect every aspect of every business, including tax codes, postal regulations, minimum wage, trade laws, anti-trust legislation and health care reform.

Actions by elected officials can determine whether you stay in business or go broke, so it is vital that each elected official represents the best interest of business.

Unlike many of the politicians who will be campaigning for your vote, we don’t hide our agenda. We are in the business of helping businesses succeed. Please share your feedback.

Fred Koury (fkoury@sbnnet.com) is president and CEO of SBN.