In the inaugural session of NFIB’s members-only “Path to Public Service” program, NFIB members share their stories and explain different ways of becoming politically involved.
On September 30, NFIB business owners Dan Withrow of CSS Distribution Group, Amy Morgan of Le Fleur Flower Design, joined by many other NFIB members, shared their stories of becoming politically involved and their journey since joining NFIB. NFIB’s Senior National Political Director Sharon Sussin and Nancy Bocskor, a civic engagement and democracy coach, facilitated the discussion during the first in NFIB’s Path to Public Service program for NFIB members. The virtual event focused on the different ways NFIB members can engage with political campaigns and is now available for all NFIB members to watch on-demand.
It was NFIB’s Kentucky State Director Tom Underwood who really ignited Dan Withrow’s political involvement back in 2009 when Tom connected Dan with Dr. Rand Paul’s U.S. Senate campaign.
If you aren’t sure where to start your involvement in your community, Dan has advice for you. “The best thing to do is make your business available for a small business roundtable. One, you get a chance to meet your elected officials and two, you get a chance to meet other business owners, and through that you’re going to develop friendships with other NFIB members.”
In Illinois, it was a successful ballot initiative campaign to stop the graduated income tax amendment, a progressive tax in 2020, that spurred Amy Morgan to action. Amy joined NFIB shortly after starting Le Fleur Flower Design in 2015. The rocky political climate in her state, drew Amy to the organization to help her stay on top of the decisions being made on the federal and state level.
“Once you do it, you’re just hooked. You’re like ‘what can I do more?’” Amy said. “Even though it was a small thing, the outcome of that particular ballot initiative was huge for small businesses, and it was one of the first victories that we had under the current administration. “
Member Darrell Feil from California volunteered to help his congressman, U.S House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, by doing a radio ad to show his support.
“My big takeaway from that was I don’t have to be fearful about any repercussions in my business. That was always in the back of my head, but we had no pushback at all,” Darrell said.
NFIB member Gordon Hunt has hosted events with senators and senate candidates in North Carolina. “The other real advantage is when there’s something going on and I carry that NFIB voice to a candidate and share it with them…they want to know what’s going on with us, they want to hear what’s going on with our businesses.”
The Path to Public Service program launched this year, is a three-part series of virtual events designed specifically for small business owners, and is exclusively available to NFIB members. Public service is a way for you as a business owner and community leader to help make the voice of small business heard in Washington, DC and state capitals across the nation. “At NFIB, we know the best way to establish good pro-small business policies is to elect people who support small businesses, but it’s also essential to stop anti-small business policies” explains Sharon Sussin.
NFIB will be hosting two subsequent sessions in the Path to Public Service series. Learn more at the Serve as an Appointed Official event on Thursday, Oct. 14 at 2:00 p.m. ET and the Run for Office event on Oct. 28 at 2:00 p.m. ET.
NFIB Regional Political Manager Matthew Woolley explains, “These are benefits of your membership. We want to make sure you have materials and opportunities to connect with fellow members and small business owners in forums like the Path to Public Service. You’re the ones with the strong stories, with the perspectives that are so compelling to candidates and public officials. It’s our job to make your voice as amplified and as effective as possible.”
If you have any questions or want to learn more, you can reach out to Matthew Woolley at [email protected].