COLUMBUS – NFIB, the state’s leading small business association in Ohio, held its bi-annual Small Business day at the Capitol on Sept. 15, 2021. Hundreds of small business owners from across the state of Ohio gathered in Columbus and heard from leaders of all three branches of state government in Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, members of the Ohio Legislature, and Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor. They were also joined by NFIB President and CEO Brad Close.
“Small Business Day at the Capitol is always a great event. It provides us as small business owners the opportunity to engage directly with our elected officials. We can effectively communicate how the legislative decisions they make can impact our businesses, either positively or negatively. It was great to see so many of my fellow entrepreneurs here today,” said Chris Ellis, NFIB Ohio Leadership Council chairman and owner of Helping Hands Healthcare, Inc. in West Chester, Ohio.
“We want to thank Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and members of the legislature for joining us as we celebrate Ohio small businesses. Early on, they listened to Ohio’s small business community. Eleven items we put forth were followed through on to assist entrepreneurs during a long period of uncertainty. It is nice to see they continue to engage with entrepreneurs across Ohio” said Roger Geiger, executive director of NFIB in Ohio. “It was good for our members to hear from Chief Justice O’Connor on how the stability and predictability of the Ohio Supreme Court has an impact on their businesses.”
Following the morning speakers, business owners moved to the Ohio Statehouse where NFIB presented its prestigious Guardian of Small Business Award to State Rep. Kyle Koehler, a member of NFIB, Ohio House District 79 (Springfield), and State Sen. Kristina Roegner, Ohio Senate District 27 (Hudson). The recognition is for their outstanding efforts to support small business issues in the Ohio Legislature.
“I’m honored to be among those recognized by NFIB for this award,” said Koehler. “Now, more than ever, small businesses need strong legislators in their corner. I’m proud to advocate for our small businesses and our state’s economy. I will continue to fight for small businesses and smart, pro-business legislation in Ohio.”
“I strive to make Ohio an attractive place for businesses to grow and thrive,” said Roegner. “Ohio’s small businesses are the backbone of our state’s economy. The American dream is reflected in the hard work and dedication of these entrepreneurs. I am honored to be chosen for this award today and I look forward to continuing our work to provide opportunities for all Ohioans.”
“Rep. Koehler and Sen. Roegner have an unblemished 100% voting record with NFIB in the Ohio Legislature. They both understand the importance of creating an environment in which Ohio small business can thrive,” said Geiger. “They both consistently reach out to the small business community, knowing Ohio’s economy begins with a strong entrepreneurial spirit that appreciates it when government stays out of the way and allows them to do what they do best, create opportunities for their fellow Ohioans. Both are truly deserving of this honor.”
The recognition, dating back to 1988, has been presented to an exclusive list of state legislators in its over 30-year history, with generally one member of the Ohio Senate and one member of the Ohio House of Representatives annually receiving the award. The NFIB Leadership Council for Ohio, which is comprised of NFIB members from across the state, voted to present Representative Koehler and Senator Roegner with the Guardian of Small Business Award.
The organization also recognized NFIB Ohio Leadership Council member Steve Bruns as the 2021 Small Business Champion, the highest honor given annually to a member. Bruns is the owner of Bruns Construction Enterprises, Inc. in Tipp City, Ohio. The award is given to a member who has gone over and above in their support of small business owners across the state.
“I am truly honored to be recognized as this year’s Small Business Champion by NFIB. Our business has been a member for almost 40 years and it is one of the organizations I truly respect as an entrepreneur. NFIB does a great job as our voice at the Ohio Statehouse. I have enjoyed the opportunities I have had to get together with fellow members and talk about the issues that impact all small business owners and look forward to continuing to do so,” said Bruns.