Business event showcases food; main speakers held up in D.C.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Small-business owners and their families sampled the fare from six local restaurants at the National Federation of Independent Business' "Taste of NFIB" Friday evening.

The event on the campus of Southeast Missouri State University was supposed to have featured speeches by U.S. Sen. Jim Talent and U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson. But spokesmen for both Republican lawmakers said they were detained by extended voting sessions in Washington.

Brad Jones, state director of NFIB Missouri, said that his organization's clout as a political advocate for small businesses depends on the number of its members. Since the last election, Jones said, the Missouri legislators have not only listened to small-business owners, more of them own small businesses than any assembly before.

"They understand what it means to sign the check on the front and not just endorse it on the back," he said.

Through her membership in NFIB, Kathy Swan, owner of JCS Tel-link in Cape Girardeau, had the opportunity to speak with President Bush about his tax cut plan last year.

"I have a voice as a small-business owner," she said.

One issue in contention during the speeches at the event was Gov. Bob Holden's veto of a regulatory relief bill, among others.

"We said, why not ask you all about a reform before we pass it?" state Rep. Jason Crowell said. "But for some reason the administration didn't want it."

Holden said in July that the bill would have awarded too much power to a legislature-appointed board.

rgoodier@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 127

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