By Steve Rouzer, The Main Street Alliance of Florida
Over 200 small business owners in Orange County have joined with The Main Street Alliance of Florida and placed posters in their shop encouraging customers to take part in the local elections on August 26. Owners want to bring attention to the less-discussed election that has a greater impact on the community. The label of “Primary” has voters confused, and many are unaware the August election decides several races, including County Mayor and County Commissioner.
Small business owners cite corporate money in politics as the primary issue this election season, as several local candidates in Orange County have been linked to campaign contributions from large corporations. This puts their loyalty to the small business community in question. In addition, income inequality for women in the workplace is a pressing issue for small business owners. After learning that women earn an average of $7,128 a year less than their male counterparts many shop owners wonder what their sales would look like if families were bringing home that extra income.
When asked why he put a Vote Local poster in his window, Angelo Rodriguez, owner of MasterKutz Barber Shop, said “If you really want to see some change where you live, you have to do your part. If we come together and believe in our system, we have the power to change things. Change all starts with local government; we need to bring back local government by educating people and getting them involved.”
Small business owners are often too busy to take part in the election process, so many opt to receive an absentee ballot sent directly to their home or business. This way, they can look over the ballot on their own time, and then mail the completed ballot to the Supervisor of Elections. Many shop owners have placed extra absentee ballot request forms and information cards in their shop, so their customers can take advantage of this time-saving process.
The Main Street Alliance of Florida is engaging small business owners to take actions in their community, and to make changes which not only help their business thrive, but which help the community that supports them. Several in-district town halls are being held in the weeks leading up to the election, and they are a great opportunity to voice the concerns of the business community. More information on the Vote Local campaign, and the town hall meetings, can be found at VoteLocal2014.org.