Vice President Mike Pence wasted no time Thursday rallying a group of Latino small business owners gathered in the nation’s capital.
“Understand one thing,” Pence began, “this administration is in the promise-keeping business.”
Those promises include: repealing and replacing Obamacare; dismantling burdensome regulation; providing tax relief for business owners; and ushering in a new era of education for some of the most over-looked segments of the American population.
“The Trump administration will be the best friend small business ever had,” Pence said, a line that quickly earned a standing ovation from the audience.
“The Trump administration will be the best friend small business ever had”
“And we’re just getting started, I can promise you that,” Pence added.
It was a message of strong support that the collection of business owners had been waiting to hear all morning. Gathered in a hotel conference room a few hundred yards from the White House, the group consisted of entrepreneurs and thought leaders in the Hispanic community.
The event, hosted by the Latino Coalition, bore the name “Make Small Business Great Again Policy Summit,” a nod to Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, which Pence said made the president “very, very pleased.”
Although cutting taxes and reducing the regulatory burden on small business owners were among the issues covered at the summit, the vice president’s speech made clear that repealing and replacing Obamacare is a major priority for the administration. “We will end the Obamacare nightmare once and for all,” said Pence.
“Everywhere I go, small business owners are telling me that Obamacare is placing a weight on them that grows with each and every years,” Pence said. “They felt for the longest time that there was nothing they could do. Now they know there is something we can do, and President Trump is determined to work with this Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare with something that actually works.”
“Everywhere I go, small business owners are telling me that Obamacare is placing a weight on them that grows with each and every years”
For small business owners, especially Latinos, health care reform is not just a politicized wedge issue; it’s a matter of survival. Latinos make up the fastest-growing segment of entrepreneurs in the nation, increasing by 47 percent in just the past decade to more than 3.3 million businesses in the United States today.
And because millenials are starting small businesses at the lowest rate in 25 years, Latinos must be there to pick up the slack. That’s difficult to do, Pence agreed, when you’re bogged down by health care costs.
“The way you lower those costs is not by growing government, it’s by increasing competition,” Pence said. “That’s why we’re going to work with each and every one of you to keep the American Dream alive. We’re going to renew it. We’re going to make it better than it’s ever been before.”
“We’ve got our work cut out for us,” Pence concluded, “but I’m confident America’s best days are yet to come. Now let’s get to work.”
“That’s why we’re going to work with each and every one of you to keep the American Dream alive.”
Also speaking at the event was Opportunity Lives senior writer Israel Ortega, who discussed Hispanics and education. Ortega and others on the panel, including Daniel Garza, a former George W. Bush aide and now the president of the Libre Initiative, a free market Latino advocacy group, stressed the need to care about the disproportionately high number of Hispanics failing to receive a high school diploma.
Asked why the business community should care about this, Ortega replied: “The fact is that the future of the American workforce is Hispanic.”
Evan Smith is a Staff Writer for Opportunity Lives. You can follow him on Twitter @Evansmithreport.