Press Release
July 6, 2022

Protecting Democracy Mission of New PA Small Business Collaborative

(Harrisburg, PA)—A new Pennsylvania 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 Jenn Richey Nicholas of Pixel Parlor, one of the PA Business for Democracy collaborative leaders. “Small business owners know what happens under autocracy and one-party rule. Small businesses no longer are valued other than for the taking by deep-pocketed corporations. Entrepreneurship and economies die.”

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.

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 PA 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 Account 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 Sherree Goldstein of the Square Cafe. “Our democracy and economy are at stake.”

“As a company committed to empowering individuals, families, and communities to take control of their lives, genuine participatory democracy is at the core of our work,” said Christopher Jacobs of Community Impact.

“Democracy is essential for the future of my mission-based business that seeks to bring equity and equality to my community, country, and world,” said Nicholas.  “We are already strained to work within the complicated framework of a divided country that is slanted to work against us, but at least we have skin in the game. Without democracy, we won’t have a chance for business as we know it to survive.”

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


Pennsylvania Media Contact:
Jenn Richey Nicholas

National Media Contact:
Frank Knapp



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