By Hana Engroff
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
BOCA RATON — The president has a vision, a clear picture of where this country needs to be.
That’s what Tom Vilsack, the former governor of Iowa, told six Palm Beach County small business owners in Boca Raton Thursday afternoon, on behalf of Obama for America.
“We will be a government that will spend less,” Vilsack, also the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, said. “But we also have to be a government that continues to invest.”
Investing in education, infrastructure, research, agriculture and small businesses is crucial to improving the economy, and President Obama understands that, he told the owners whose businesses span from West Palm Beach to Lantana to Boca Raton.
Julie Reiser, the president and co-founder of Made in USA Certified, which hosted the discussion, said she would like to see more help trying to keep jobs stateside. Her business is an independent certification company that validates companies’ claims that their products and services were made in the U.S.
“It scares me a little that we don’t have a better support system here for manufacturers,” she said. “I think buying American is hard for us to do. We want to do it, but we need incentive.”
The other business owners, who were invited to represent the area’s small business scene, were able to tell their stories and say what government help they’re looking for, as Vilsack took notes and offered comments and suggestions.
“It’s all about opportunity,” he said. Business owners need to know what resources are available, such as Small Business Administration loans and tax credits for hiring veterans.
He said he’ll take the ideas shared at Thursday’s discussion and get them to the appropriate agencies.
Voters in November should remember that “selection is a choice, not just between two men, but two visions,” Vilsack said.
Mitt Romney has a “backward-looking vision,” he said.
Sid Dinerstein, the chairman of the Republican Party of Palm Beach County, said he disagrees.
Obama has “vilified small businessmen,” he said. “From day one, he’s marginalized small businesses”
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