Press Release
July 6, 2022

Protecting Democracy Mission of New NC Small Business Collaborative

(Raleigh, NC)—A new North Carolina Business for Democracy collaborative launched today to raise the trusted voice of small business on the need to protect our democracy. The collaborative will elevate the issue to be one of concern to voters in November and call for Congressional action to stop the nation from falling into autocracy.

“A strong democracy is essential for a vibrant entrepreneurial economy,” said John Martin of Martin Sloane International, one of the NC Business for Democracy collaborative leaders. “Small business owners know what happens under autocracy and one-party rule.  We will not be taken in by fake political claims and bad policies.  To do otherwise is a death toll for both our rebounding economy and our democracy.”

Americans need to be concerned.

For example, Russia’s autocracy from 2000 to present is foretelling. Putin and his wealthy supporters used trumped-up charges to enable his oligarchs and the Russian government to take over the businesses of entrepreneurs. In the first 12 years of President Putin’s reign, one-third of Russian businesses were raided and over 70,000 business owners were jailed, and thousands went into exile. (Ruth Ben-Ghiat, “Strongmen: From Mussolini to the Present”)

“When autocratic rulers have a lock on power, the voices of small business owners are not heard, and the ownership of a successful business and the welfare of its employees are always in jeopardy,” said Tracy Furman of Triad Local First, another collaborative leader.

The January 6 House hearings have shown the fragility of our nation’s democracy and how easy it is for supporters of autocracy to deny the ability of voters to pick their President and Vice-President under the current Electoral Count Act.

Several states have proposed or passed laws that threaten democracy by establishing the ability for state legislators or state officials to nullify local election results if the powers-that-be do not like the decision of the voters. The U.S. Supreme Court could rule next year that this threat to free and fair elections is Constitutional, a decision that would accelerate the country’s slide into autocracy.

The NC Business for Democracy collaborative is calling on Congressional candidates to support reforming the Electoral Count Act and the passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act. A bi-partisan group of Senators is drafting a bill to reform the Electoral Count Act. The other two Acts failed in the U.S. Senate this year.

“We will make our voices heard and we hope to make protecting democracy a votable issue this fall,” said Gerry McCants of Greensboro Business League. “Our democracy—including the economy, fairness and equality of rights for many African Americans—is at stake.”

“As a small business owner, I see daily the importance of being involved and active when it comes to laws and regulations affecting entrepreneurs,” said Martin. “Business For Democracy is advocating on behalf of the equity and democracy issues that I support. I strongly endorse their effort and mission.”

“Strong democracy and strong local economy go hand in hand,” said Furman. “They are the checks and balances for a thriving community.” 

Collaboratives are also being built in 8 other states as part of this American Sustainable Business Network campaign.


North Carolina Media Contact:

John Martin

National Media Contact:

Frank Knapp



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