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McKeon hears concern from small businesses

Posted: March 14, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 14, 2012 1:55 a.m.
 


Fewer taxes, less regulation and more sales people were some of the requests of local business owners who asked Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, to take their messages back to Washington, D.C., with him.

McKeon met with about 25 members of the Santa Clarita Valley’s business community at College of the Canyons on Tuesday seeking input on ways to get many of his unemployed constituents back to work.

“You’ve got to release this stranglehold government has on small business,” said Jim Lentini of Lentini Insurance & Investments Inc. in Newhall.

“And you’ve got to stop government over-regulating and allow small business to create jobs.

“You’ve got to take the monkey off their backs,” Lentini said, referring to the burden endured daily by small businesses.

McKeon came to town to promote a Republican initiative from the House of Representatives called One More Job.

The fundamental thinking behind the program is this: If every business hired just one more person, the overall effect would kick-start a productive community.

Ed Bernstein, president of 25Score Card on Lyons Avenue, encouraged young people wanting jobs to become good sales people.

“Sales people can be part of the solution,” he said.

“I go to high schools and talk to students about their future and I ask, ‘How many want to be sales people?’ and typically there’s one hand that goes up,” he said.

“But there are tons of good industries that would seek out good sales people,” he said.

Using a hypothetical example, Bernstein said: “What if I had a business training 500 sales people and a solar-panel company came to town wanting to hire sales people because they didn’t have time or resources to train them? Five hundred people would find work.”

Patricia Gracia, addressing the group in broken English, told the story of how she came to America with nothing. When she obtained an education, a phone, a fax machine and a computer, she created a successful, growing media company serving the Latino community.

“I didn’t have any capital to start my business, so I ran it from my house,” she said. “When you’re running your own business, it is very important to distinguish your market. You have to find your niche.”

Her motto is simple, she said: “Believe in yourself, work hard and do not rely on government to solve your problems.”

In saying goodbye to the group, McKeon told them: “I am so frustrated listening to the stories here because I go back and try working on this stuff, and it’s very difficult to get anything done.”

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