Members of the Iowa Small Businesses for Obama Council may not agree whether they are better off than they were four years ago, but they don’t doubt that the president has the nation – and small businesses – on a path to recovery.
“Yes, I am definitely better off than I was four years ago,” said Mike Wyrick, owner of Compass Advertising. After seeing his business “tumble” in 2008, Wyrick said that over the past four years he has grown his business back to where it was in 2007.
“So am I better off than I was when Obama took office? Yes,” Wyrick said at a Marion news conference the Obama campaign called Friday to unveil its small business council.
Craig Campbell, co-owner of Campbell-Steele Gallery in Marion, which hosted the news conference, is sure he’s not better off.
“Absolutely not,” Campbell said. “Not anywhere in the ballpark.”
However, he compared the current economic situation to asking whether victims of a car crash are better off than they were before the crash while they are still being treated by emergency medical technicians.
“You don’t recover from a car accident in 20 minutes.” Campbell said. “This is a major, long-term recovery from something that was caused over a long period of time by irresponsible activities as an entire nation. Four years is nothing when it comes to a recovery.”
Still, Campbell said, he has “confidence in portions of this particular path.”
“Our best hope of the two is definitely President Obama,” he added, referring to the president’s challenger, Republican Mitt Romney.
A spokesman for Romney agreed with Campbell that small businesses are not better off than they were when Obama took office.
“President Obama has failed our country’s small businesses with his excessive regulations, new taxes and mandates created by ObamaCare, and consistent attempts to pass tax hikes on small business owners,” said Shawn McCoy of the Romney campaign. “President Obama’s excessive government regulations are crushing Iowa’s small businesses and family farms. Mitt Romney will repeal President Obama’s excessive regulations and help create over 130,000 new jobs for Iowa.”
Priscilla Steele, the other half of the Campbell-Steele Gallery, said it’s the president she looks to for solutions.
“I find in tracking the president’s action through the most divisive political climate I can ever recall as an American, that President Obama strikes a course that is logical, thoughtful, compassionate and seeking a steady recovery from the most serious economic setback in our nation’s history, save possibly the Great Depression,” she said.
She and Wyrick agreed the benefits of Obama’s health care reform for small business over time should not be underestimated. Overall, the Affordable Care Act and other Obama initiatives on taxes, education and infrastructure investment benefit the middle class.
“Our business is directly dependent on a healthy middle class,” Steele said.
Other members of the Iowa Small Businesses for Obama Council include: Benita Caldwell, Coralville; Sandy Cronbaugh, von Essen Galerie, Marengo; Richard Myers, former small business owner and House Minority Leader, Coralville; Veronica Tessler, Yotopia, Iowa City; and Cookie Vanous, Czech Feather and Down Co., Mount Vernon.