North Carolina small business owners raise alarm about need to protect democracy

Press Release
October 20, 2022Contact:
Frank Knapp

North Carolina small business owners raise alarm about need to protect democracy

Recognize U.S. House candidates for their support of Congressional reforms
Full Video of Press Conference

Charlotte, NC
—Today the North Carolina Business for Democracy collaborative urged voters to be concerned about protecting democracy and announced the results of a North Carolina Congressional candidate survey.

“Small business owners understand that a strong democracy is essential for a vibrant entrepreneurial economy where small businesses flourish.,” said Frank Knapp, director of the Business for Democracy campaign.  “The two go hand in hand. We are raising the alarm about losing our democracy.”

Joining Mr. Knapp at the press event were other members of the collaborative.

“Today people have the power to talk to, influence and choose elected representatives. Small business owners can have a say in economic policy to promote entrepreneurship, which is especially important to women.  However, without a strong democracy all the input from voters will go in one ear of politicians and out the other. That’s because these officials will have locked themselves into office by manipulating or changing voting rules. When democracy turns into autocracy, one-party or one-man rule, the will of the people is no longer important — or even decisive in an election. Women have a special reason to want to prevent our democracy from turning into an autocracy. Not only will the voices of women on issues not be heard by officials, but there will also be nothing holding back those politicians in power from acting on their own beliefs and prejudices. Misogyny will once again raise its ugly head to the detriment of all women. Sexism will be unleashed. It is critical for women to stand up for their right to be heard in the political process. We must know where candidates stand on protecting democracy and weigh that knowledge in deciding which candidates to support,” said Janice Robinson is the president of JDR Consulting in Charlotte.

“As a small business owner, I see daily the importance of being actively involved when it comes to laws and regulations affecting entrepreneurs.  A strong democracy provides us the freedom to elect officials who listen and act according to the voices of small businesses.  It is imperative that every voter, not just entrepreneurs, speak out in support of a fair and equitable democracy. Unfortunately, there are efforts to undermine our democracy and not honor free, fair, and secure elections.  If these efforts succeed, candidates will win not by listening to input from the voters, but by manipulation or changing election rules.   When that happens, the voice of small businesses will be muted,” said John J Martin, CEO and Chief Strategy Officer for Martin Sloane International in Charlotte.

The Business for Democracy collaborative conducted a survey of North Carolina candidates for the U.S. Senate and House to determine which candidates would support three Congressional reform bills that would provide firm and stable support for America’s democracy (see below).

Here are the North Carolina candidates for the U.S. House who completed the short survey and indicated that they would support each of these bills if elected:

Barbara Gaskins (CD 3)
Pam Genant (CD 10)
Jasmine Beach-Ferrara (CD 11)
Alma Adams (CD 12)
Senator Wiley Nickel (CD 13)
Jeff Jackson (CD 14)

It is important that voters know where candidates stand on protecting democracy and who is committed to passing reforms to do that if they are elected,” said Mr. Knapp.  “Democracy and our economy are on the ballot in November.”

North Carolina is one of eight states that have built Business for Democracy collaboratives.

Business for Democracy is a campaign of the American Sustainable Business Network.

Voting Reforms Needed to Protect Democracy and
Our Economy

The aftermath of the 2020 Presidential election shows how critical voting reform is needed to guarantee free, fair, and secure elections that will not only ensure that the will of the voters is honored but that our vibrant, entrepreneurial economy will continue.

Congress must pass three pieces of legislation either before this November’s election or in 2023.  These bills form the three-legged stool providing firm and stable support for our democracy.

Electoral Count Reform Act of 2022.  This 1887 law governing Congressional procedures for how state electoral votes for president and vice president are cast and counted should be reformed to update the vague and outdated language.  The Act needs to be reformed by Congress to confront electoral subversion at both the state and federal levels by helping ensure that partisan politicians cannot substitute their own preferences for the judgment of the American people in presidential elections.  This bipartisan bill has 11 Republican and 10 Democrat co-sponsors and is supported by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.  This bill would modernize and revitalize the Voting Rights Act of 1965, strengthening legal protections against discriminatory voting policies and practices, guaranteeing equal access to the ballot.

The Freedom to Vote Act.  The bill improves access to the ballot for Americans, advances commonsense election integrity reforms, and protects our democracy from emerging threats. Importantly, this proposal reflects feedback from state and local election officials to ensure that the people responsible for implementing these reforms are able to do so effectively. This bill also elevates the voices of American voters by ending partisan gerrymandering and rooting out the undue influence of special interest money in our politics.


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