NFIB’s political team hosted events to help members learn about various political engagement opportunities
The Path to Public Service series is a three-session, virtual program designed to help NFIB members amplify their voices and share their small business expertise in government and political campaigns. Small business owners are uniquely qualified for public office and have ample opportunities to serve. The United States has over 517,000 elected offices and several hundred thousand more appointed public offices. The Path to Public Service equips small business owners to be effective representatives of the small business community by engaging with campaigns, serving as appointed officials, and running for elected office.
1. Engage with a Campaign
The first session, Engage with a Campaign, covered how NFIB members Dan Withrow of CSS Distribution Group and Amy Morgan of Le Fleur Flower Design got involved in political campaigns, both candidate campaigns and ballot initiatives.
“Looking at your own business and finding not only your internal strengths and what drives you, and what provides your passion, but also the resources that your business can give [is important],” Amy explains. “I think we’re each unique in our own right and I think just trying to find a way to serve…that’s key.”
2. Serve as an Appointed Official
In the second session, Serve as an Appointed Official, NFIB members Cade Joiner, owner of Shred-X, and Diana Petrak, owner of Colorado Policy Pathways, told their stories of becoming appointed public officials in their states, and their journeys since joining NFIB.
“I knew it would be an honor to serve on the state’s FAMLI Task Force and that it would be a really great learning opportunity for me,” says Diana. “I knew I had to bring our voice to what would probably be a pretty difficult conversation. But NFIB’s work at the Capitol is recognized and admired. So it was really based on [NFIB’s Colorado State Director Tony Gagliardi’s] recommendation that I was able to get the appointment and became one of thirteen on that task force.”
3. Run for Office
The third and final session, Run for Office, offered insights that small business owners should contemplate as they prepare to launch a political campaign. Andrew Barkis owns Hometown Property Management and Wendy Traub owns Hemlock Directional Boring Inc., and both explained their experiences as candidates running for office.
“When you think about those of us who are in business, it’s a natural extension because you already have that network,” Andrew encourages.
Running a campaign can be time consuming, but hearing the first-hand advice from these two NFIB members help show what to expect and things to consider.
“We need more NFIB members [to run], we need more business owners to speak on our behalf,” Wendy explains.
NFIB members can log in and watch these sessions on-demand here. If you have any questions or want to learn more, please reach out to NFIB Regional Political Manager Matthew Woolley at [email protected].