Pennsylvania small business owners raise alarm about need to protect democracy

Press Release
October 19, 2022

Frank Knapp

Pennsylvania small business owners raise alarm about need to protect democracy
Recognize U.S. Senate and House candidates for their support of Congressional reforms
Full Video of Press Conference

Philadelphia, PA
—Today the Pennsylvania Business for Democracy collaborative urged voters to be concerned about protecting democracy and announced the results of a Pennsylvania Congressional candidate survey.

“Small business owners understand that a strong democracy is essential for a vibrant entrepreneurial economy where small businesses flourish.,” said Chris Jacobs of Community Impact Consulting and a leader of the Pennsylvania Business for Democracy collaborative.  “The two go hand in hand. We are raising the alarm about losing our democracy.”

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

“A weak democracy is terrible for business. A strong democracy is good for business, particularly for the lifeblood of our country’s economy: small, local, independent businesses. We need policies that protect FREE, FAIR, and SECURE elections for the sake of a healthy democracy. Free and open access to the ballot impacts free and open access to starting and growing a business, a vital tool for upward mobility in communities across America,” said Jenn Richey Nicholas, CEO, and owner of Pixel Parlor, a multi-disciplinary design studio and Certified B Corp.

In a pivotal time like this, business needs democracy and democracy needs business. The two are intertwined, and each one needs the other in order to survive and thrive. Business needs democracy in order to have a stable, thriving economy. When businesses are allowed to flourish, they create jobs and spur economic growth. This, in turn, benefits democracy by providing tax revenue and funding social programs. A thriving democracy is essential for businesses to flourish,” said Ali Jaffar, Founder & CEO of Key Medium in Philadelphia.

“Safe and secure elections are the cornerstone of our republic. They preserve our democratic traditions. Protecting the integrity of our elections is one of the fundamental responsibilities of government and is essential to establishing effective government capable of addressing today’s economic challenges. In order to achieve a healthy and competitive business climate, elections must be fair, secure, and accessible. Business leaders understand that declining citizen participation and a growing lack of confidence in how elections are conducted undermines trust in our representative democracy. The business community has a bottom-line interest in ensuring public confidence in our political system,” said Steve Masters speaking for Business for America, a member of the collaborative.

The Business for Democracy collaborative conducted a survey of Pennsylvania 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).

Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman and House candidate Bob Hollister (CD 11) completed the short survey and indicated that they would support each of these bills.

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. Jacobs.  “Democracy and our economy are on the ballot in November.”

Pennsylvania 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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