MyBusiness reached out to prominent Hispanic political leaders across the country to talk about Hispanic small business owners’ political concerns. Here, these leaders discuss the intersection of Hispanic-owned small businesses and politics, as well as what matters most to the Hispanic small business community.
Historically, Hispanic voters have supported Democratic candidates. Do Hispanic small business owners follow this trend, and will their voting preferences shift in the future?
Martinez: I believe that Hispanics are very open-minded and committed to looking beyond party labels to the candidates themselves. Hispanics can identify with the belief that government is necessary to help those in need and lay a foundation for economic growth, but it’s individual entrepreneurs who take the risks necessary to make a product or provide a service, hire workers, meet payroll and serve customers. Government should not discourage entrepreneurship, and I think most Hispanics identify with that.
Correa: I believe that Hispanic voters are not a monolithic bloc and are very independent with their selections of candidates. Hispanic small businesses want what most voters want: honest expenditures of their hard-earned tax dollars; their government to work efficiently, effectively and transparently; a highly educated and skilled workforce ready to compete in an open and free market; a government that protects our veterans and our most vulnerable individuals of society; and a government that can justify every dollar spent toward strengthening our infrastructure that moves goods and services.
What are Hispanic small business owners’ top political and economic concerns?
Ros-Lehtinen: Hispanic small business concerns include improving the economy by reforming our country’s complicated tax code, providing relief from big government regulations like Obamacare, reducing the federal deficit, increasing free trade and reforming our immigration system.
Martinez: Just like all small business owners, Hispanic entrepreneurs simply want their elected officials to set the stage for their success with a balanced regulatory and tax environment that encourages and supports economic growth.
What is the top concern for Hispanic small business owners when it comes to immigration?
Martinez: Hispanic small business owners want leaders in Washington, D.C., to work together in a comprehensive, bipartisan way to secure our borders, encourage legal immigration and deal responsibly with the millions of illegal immigrants already here.
Ros-Lehtinen: They want a fair immigration system in which all those who came to this country seeking freedom are given an opportunity to work hard and participate in the American dream.
How important are Hispanic business owners’ votes in local and presidential elections?
Correa: It’s important for business owners to exercise their right to elect their representatives and weigh in on policy issues that they are passionate about. Local government elections are arguably the most important because small businesses must comply with more local regulations and mandates than any other level of government.
Martinez: So much of what happens in Washington, D.C., has a direct effect on Hispanic business owners. Their voice is invaluable to the political process, and it’s my hope that they are active and engaged. And though the Hispanic small business vote is critical, their voice outside of election time is just as important—it helps shape policies that make it easier for small businesses to thrive.