My book “¡Hola, amigos! A plan for Latino Outreach” was published at the end of 2010 when Latinos had just helped elect President Obama. The country was trying to recover from a hard recession, and comprehensive immigration reform was one of the urgent topics Latinos were ready to see happening. I, on the other hand, was ready to thrive with my book and my business.
However, a hard-line Republican House opposed the bill and since then, comprehensive immigration reform is still waiting in the sidelines. Do you think that affected my business? You bet!
A record 25.2 million Latinos or 11 percent of all voters are eligible to vote in the 2014 midterm elections, says a report from the Pew Hispanic Center. However, it is believed that less than five percent are eligible to vote in states with close Senate or gubernatorial races, and turnout is usually very low at mid-term elections.
Are these important considerations for your business? Do you work hard at your business? Well, I do and most of my main clients depend on government subsidies and grants in order to hire my services. In addition, I provide training and staff development to organizations that want to reach out and attract Latinos to their services. Comprehensive immigration reform is an important issue for these organizations because federal and state subsidies and grants do not allow those services to be offered to undocumented immigrants in many cases. So who wins the Senate or the House or the local offices is a very crucial issue for my business, regardless of my political convictions.
Access to capital and government resources, taxes and programs for small businesses and even translation of those documents into Spanish are all areas in which your small business might be affected by the people who are elected to implement policies and procedures and will impact your livelihood and your future.
Now, you make decisions for your business every day, right? You decide who you hire, who works for you, what they need to do to improve your business and help you achieve success. However, when it comes to government, we let other people make those same decisions for us by not showing up to vote. We complaint about how busy we are, how we cannot leave the office or the store, or justify why we cannot take a couple of hours off from our hectic schedule.
Government officials, despite they might believe they are a special “class,” are really our employees, the People’s employees. We hire them by voting, we decide what job they are better suited to do by electing them to different offices and we even decide how much we pay them –well, in the case of this Congress, they have that prerogative and I believe they really deserve a demotion!
So for me, it is really hard to understand why people, and especially small business owners, do not get out and vote. They are leaving the most important decision of their businesses in other people hands; people who do not have their best interest, and certainly have theirs in mind.
Are taxes a big issue for your company? Are you looking to obtain a grant or subsidy next year to grow your business? Is your state offering programs to companies expanding globally? Are you offering benefits such as 401K plans and health insurance to your employees to motivate retention and reduce turnover? Are your employees getting paid enough to become your best customers?
All these considerations should be on your drafting board when elections’ time come; not only what Party better represents your human and civil rights but also, who represents your economic interest and who will work with you to provide the best policies and programs to help you sustain and succeed in your business. Remember it when November 4th comes!