Why business owners don’t run for office

August 3rd, 2012 by Ken

The recent conflict with Dan Cathy, owner of Chick-fil-A casts a fog on why business owners don’t run for office.

In case you were out of town last week, Cathy said on a Christian radio station, that he felt God must be mad at us for allowing gay marriage (or something like that.)

Immediately the liberal media jumped on his remarks and their lap dogs, Democrats, like the mayor of Chicago, said that Chick-fil-A would not be welcome in his city.

Chick-fil-A is a southern based fast food restaurant headquartered out of Atlanta. It had plans for expansion across the country. Whether or not those plans will continue is not known, but what is known. is that its tough to be a business owner and engage in politics.

I’ve spent some time talking with business owners in our community about running for public office. Most of our local office holders are public employees, non-profit employees or retired government employees. A business voice is missing from our local governments, particularly those two dozen regional boards and commissions which control our lives.

These business owners have several reasons for not running for public office. Most often its a concern about time. But talk with them a while longer and it becomes clear. In this partisan politically charged atmosphere, they’re worried about the impact their political decisions will have on their businesses.

Years ago, Pete Fleutsch, the owner of Sunset Air, was elected mayor of Tumwater. I think he served two full terms. After he left office, I asked him about the impact of his political decisions on his business. He said that he lost 50 percent of his customers because of his political decisions. But, he added, I got another 50 percent of new customers because of it.

When we don’t have a business voice on our local government councils and boards, we lose an important asset. Only someone who has owned a business, met payroll, attracted customers, lost customers, paid bills and survived, can tell local governments that they need to watch their expenditures – – and have the authority to do so.

If we had business people on the Olympia City Council we wouldn’t be selling a perfectly good building for one dollar and thinking about paying $10 million dollars for another building just to tear it down.

I would suggest, that if, and when, a business person runs for local office, that all business owners jump at the chance to support her – – or him. Even if it does mean getting your name listed on record.

Maybe you too can gain new customers.

Posted in Business, Local Politics

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