There is no doubt that election season is in full swing. It’s hard to ignore the political signs lining our roadways, television commercials and our mailboxes filled with full-color, glossy pieces.
If nothing else, keep in mind that many small businesses and advertising sales representatives benefit from this activity, and our local economy enjoys a temporary boost.
But so much coming at us all at once can also be overwhelming. Especially here in the Tucson region where we have Tucson city wards, county districts, state legislative districts and school districts. It can be enough to discourage people from voting or even worse, being an uninformed voter.
I believe the average voter wants to do the right thing and not waste a vote. I also believe that now, more now than ever, the average voter considers how hers or his vote will impact an employer or clients.
Job security is no longer undervalued or an afterthought, it’s a real concern for American workers who understand that elections have consequences.
This is a positive because it encourages voters to find a balance between their personal beliefs and what’s in the best interests of their employer.
With so much information competing for our attention, much of it partisan, where is a person to go for unbiased and factual information? Arizona workers and employers now have a new resource, the recently launched Arizona Prosperity Project.
The Prosperity Project is a national, grassroots program that provides employers with straightforward, non-partisan information for their employees on issues and candidates at the state and federal level.
When workers are informed and active in government and elections, our families, our communities and our state will benefit. That is a fundamental belief of the Prosperity Project.
The program is independently managed by local organizations that understand the needs of their state’s business interests and the program is currently in 40 states. The Arizona Prosperity Project will not tell people how to vote, but it will empower voters and help them better understand the most important issues facing Arizona businesses.
The Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA) is pleased to be among the first organizations, along with the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry and a handful of others, to take the lead in bringing the Prosperity Project to Arizona.
The Arizona Prosperity Project has been launched at an ideal time and is focused on providing election resources such as voter registration and polling place finder, zip code search displaying candidates running in your district, and the voting records of incumbent state legislators on business-friendly legislation.
Another fundamental belief of the Prosperity Project is that America works best when its citizens cast informed votes.
Given the impact elections have on the bottom line of every business, voters should not make decision based on attack ads and limited information.
Narrowly focused interest groups are making great use of social media and other technology to spread their messages to voters. They rarely address how an election will impact competitiveness, job security and future prosperity.
The Arizona Prosperity Project gives employers tools to help their employees be better informed voters, while respecting their individual beliefs and their right to choose.
Research has shown that employers are viewed by their employees as a credible source of election information and they welcome their feedback.
I invite you to visit the Arizona Prosperity Project — www.azprosperity.org — to learn more about the top issues facing Arizona businesses and explore the available re-sources.
I also encourage you to begin the political dialogue with your staff. It’s important that everyone keep an open mind and all positions are respected. Designate a fixed amount of time for this discussion and remember that it’s OK to discuss business issues in a business environment. We’re not talking religion here.
Finally, help you employees learn how to find their elected officials and candidates running for public office and encourage them to be informed voters.
Jerry Bustamante is senior vice president of public policy and oversees the Southern Arizona office of the Arizona Small Business Association, 4811 E. Grant Road, Suite 262, in Crossroads Festival, phone (520) 327-0222.
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