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LETTER: A small-town vote for Sestak


In many Pennsylvania small towns, the main commercial streets and central business districts struggle to maintain their economic vitality. The threats come from many quarters: competition from Big Box stores and online retailers, costly over-regulation, and national economic policies that favor Wall Street at the expense of Main Street.

Joe Sestak, former US Navy Admiral and Congressman, visits VFW Post 5265 in Spring Grove while campaigning for the US Senate, Wednesday Feb. 10, 2016. John A. Pavoncello photo

I own the Hotel Fauchère, an historic hotel and restaurant in Milford, the Pike County seat in the northeast corner of Pennsylvania. Louis Fauchère opened the hotel in 1852, but in the 164 years since, I'm not sure there has ever been a more difficult business climate for small, Main Street businesses than in recent years.

Many of Pennsylvania's once-bustling main streets are plagued with empty storefronts, high-crime, vandalism and graffiti and marginal businesses. In Milford, we try to keep our central commercial district vital by providing superior service, donating generously to community organizations, organizing festivals and events to draw patrons to our doors, and working long, long hours to remain as competitive as possible.

Small business owners don't mind the work -- we expect to work hard -- but what we mind are damaging tax and economic policies and politicians more interested in Wall Street campaign contributions than in supporting Pennsylvania's Main Street small business owners.

That's why I'm voting for Admiral Joe Sestak for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate, because he is not only an expert in job creation through small businesses, but he has a track record that can be trusted, including serving as vice chair of the Small Business Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives.

In Admiral Sestak's book, "Restore the American Dream," he points out that 40 years ago, there were 35 new small businesses created for every 10,000 working-age citizens, but today that has fallen by half. Nationwide, small businesses create almost 70 percent of all new jobs, but in Pennsylvania the job growth is only half the national average.

Admiral Sestak has innovative ideas for strengthening small businesses to enable them to continue to be the bedrock of the American Dream. In addition to reforming the regulatory environment for small business, he advocates for policies to incentivize investment in small businesses, increase their access to capital and expand export opportunities.

Admiral Sestak offers the kind of political leadership that makes sense to me as a Pennsylvanian and as a small business owner. That's why I'm supporting him in the Democratic Primary on April 26 and urge other small business owners -- and those who want to protect the main streets in small towns throughout the state -- to do so as well.


President, Hotel Fauchère​

Milford, Pa.