OLYMPIA, Wash., July 7, 2014—In May, the state’s largest small-business association gave its coveted Guardian of Small Business award to 69 legislators. Today, it singled out Rep. J.T. Wilcox as one of only two lawmakers to receive its Outstanding Legislator honor.
“Our Guardian award shows who stands shoulder to shoulder with small business in the Statehouse, vote after vote,” said Patrick Connor, Washington state director for the National Federation of Independent Business, America’s Voice of Small Business. “But this award recognizes those few lawmakers who truly led the charge on Main Street’s top priorities during the 63rd Legislature, promoting and defending free enterprise, often against overwhelming odds.”
Wilcox worked closely with NFIB and others to bring scores of small-business owners and their employees to testify at the Capitol against bills to make permanent a series of tax increases that had pummeled Main Street during the recession, including a 20 percent surcharge on the business and occupation tax rate paid by more than 144,000 service firms. His #AreYouOnTheList social media effort helped to spotlight the vast reach of these onerous taxes on the service sector.
“Since the day I was elected, one of my most important goals has been to help rebuild the rural economy, and small business is the key to doing that,” Wilcox said. “I am humbled to have that work recognized by fellow small-business owners and their very effective advocate in Olympia.”
In addition to his legislative duties, Wilcox is an entrepreneur in his own right. His company, Wilcox Strategies, has assisted financially troubled companies with business planning, creditor and banking issues, and property liquidations. Wilcox cut his teeth in the family business, Wilcox Farms, rising to the post of chief financial officer before striking out on his own.
“J.T. knows how decisions made in Olympia impact the bottom line of small businesses in Yelm, and across the state,” said Connor. “His knowledge and experience running a business, and helping turn-around those that are struggling, gives him insight that is all too rare in the Legislature. Washington needs more legislators like J.T. Wilcox.”
The criteria used for selecting Wilcox and Sen. Janéa Holmquist as the two Outstanding Legislators of the 63rd Legislature include achieving Guardian of Small Business status; being the principal player and/or sponsor of an NFIB priority bill; taking a leadership role in getting a bill out of committee or defeating a bill in committee; and for lining up votes for or against a bill on the chamber floor.
Wilcox represents parts of Pierce and Thurston counties. NFIB has 340,000 small-business members nationwide, including 8,250 in Washington state.
An online media kit for reporters and editors in need of quick, single pages of bulleted information about such things as what a small business is, the five distinctions from a big business, and the power of the small-business vote can be found here.
[Photo above: Rep. J.T. Wilcox receives his Guardian of Small Business award from NFIB/Washington State Director Patrick Connor.]
For more than 70 years, the National Federation of Independent Business has been the Voice of Small Business, taking the message from Main Street to the halls of Congress and all 50 state legislatures. NFIB annually surveys its members on state and federal issues vital to their survival as America's economic engine and biggest creator of jobs. NFIB’s educational mission is to remind policymakers that small businesses are not smaller versions of bigger businesses; they have very different challenges and priorities.
National Federation of Independent Business/Washington
711 Capitol Way South, Suite 505
Olympia, WA 98501