US Presidential Campaign Divides Small Business Owners in Key Battleground State

Chris Simkins
In U.S presidential politics, Democrat Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney, have championed small-business growth as a way to fuel an economic recovery in the United States. In the southern state of North Carolina, where both men are popular, small business owners are deeply divided over which candidate can best address their needs.

Larry Guinn manufactures de-mountable interior wall partitions at his factory in Summerfield, North Carolina.  He worries about the future.

"I am not going to hire many people. I just see more and more unemployment in the country, and that is not good for America," Guinn said.

Not far away in Greensboro, immigration lawyer Jeremy McKinney prepares to defend another client in court.  He thinks the country is on the right course.

"From out vantage point I do not see any reason to change the captain of the ship," McKinney said.

Both men are small business owners, but on opposite ends of the political divide when it comes to presidential politics and which candidate has the right plan to drive economic growth.  Guinn, a Republican, supports Mitt Romney over President Obama.

"If we do not get someone in there who knows and understands how businesses operate and what is required of them to be profitable and stay in business, I am not sure how much longer small businesses are going to be able to hang on," Guinn said.

Jeremy McKinney, a Democrat, credits President Obama's policies for the current economic recovery.  He says his firm suffered its worse financial year in 2008, but now times are better.

"Each year we have been able to climb back.  And this year has been our best year ever in the history of this law firm.  We can see the president and this administration and its policies creating this economic recovery in action," McKenney said.

Guinn says Romney's plan to cut corporate taxes will allow small business owners to hire more workers.  But he worries President Obama's health-care reform law will cost his company more, because he currently does not provide health insurance for his workers.

"If I am at the point where I have to furnish insurance for all the employees that I would put on my solid payroll, I would almost have to use more casual [part-time] workers because I just could not afford the insurance program and still stay in business and make a profit," Guinn said.

McKinney says the health-care law is already helping his business by providing tax credits to offset the costs of health-care coverage for his employees.

"With less than 50 employees we pay a lot more for our health insurance than large employers.  That will hopefully change in 2014 as we combine with other small businesses to negotiate health-care contracts with insurance companies," McKinney said.

Both small business owners are hoping for better times, but they paint the upcoming presidential contest as a stark choice between two competing visions of economic vitality.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs