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Conventions 2012 / CONVENTIONS 2012

GOP Convention Speaker Has Touted Government's Role in Small-Business Success

photo of Ben  Schreckinger
August 28, 2012

Sher Valenzuela, a candidate for lieutenant governor in Delaware, on Tuesday touted her credentials as a self-made small business owner fed up with government intervention in a speech to the Republican National Convention, but in other venues, she has sung the praises of working hand-in-glove with the government to build a business.

Valenzuela spoke eary Tuesday evening, a night set aside to celebrate the theme,  “We Built It” -- a reference to a remark by President Obama earlier this summer at a campaign stop. Obama, addressing hypothetical small business owners, used the phrase, “You didn’t build that.” Although he was referring to infrastructure provided by government, GOP challenger Mitt Romney seized on the remark as evidence Obama believes government has a major role in business growth.

The furor has led to a debate over the extent to which government deserves credit for the successes of private enterprise, and Valenzuela came down firmly on the side of free enterprise.

 

Members of the Obama administration “believe in creating new agencies and boards,” she said. But, “they just dont trust the entrepreneur's ability to grow her own business and to create jobs.”

“For Gov. Romney, free enterprise isn't just a theory you study in graduate school,” she said. “It's a creed. A commitment. A world view.”

But Valenzuela has given seminars for small-business owners that show them how to take advantage of government contracting and benefits and has portrayed government agencies as attractive, efficient partners.

On her website, her presentation touts government contracts set aside especially for women and minorities, and states that a government client “adds tremendous credibility to your customer list.”

Valenzuela’s  presentation also refers to the government as “your biggest ‘secret weapon.’”

Since Ronald Reagan professed his love for Horatio Alger, the Republican Party has promoted an image of an independent entrepreneur pulling himself up by his own bootstraps as the engine of the American economy.

But the last slide of Valenzuela’s presentation evokes an image more in line with the Democratic position. It says, “Succeeding, Together!”

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