When it comes to economic development, I believe that “farming” is much more effective than “hunting.” Small businesses are the backbone of Chicago’s economy, creating good new jobs and making our neighbors vibrant and prosperous. Although I believe there is a place for using city resources to woo out-of-town businesses to Chicago, I also believe we should work to support our existing small businesses, providing resources to help them grow and flourish.
Small Business Corridors and Chambers of Commerce
Property values are enhanced when great neighborhoods are bordered by thriving retail corridors. We Chicagoans, love to roll out of bed and dine and shop near our homes. My office will work to make sure those corridors are beneficial to the residents who support them and to the businesses themselves. I will use my office to encourage ward residents to “shop local.” I will work with local chambers of commerce and small business to fill vacant store fronts as soon as possible. And, I will use World Business Chicago’s business site selector program to recruit business to the Second Ward. I will work hard to develop a close relationship with neighborhood chambers of commerce. And, I will use my ward newsletters and social media to announce new businesses in the ward or some of the hidden gems that aren’t getting the foot traffic they deserve.**
Standing Up for Small Business
Small business owners invest their savings, their sweat and their hearts in their companies. I know that many small business owners in the Second Ward are working long hours – sometimes for very slim profits.
Our small businesses deserve a City government that understands their needs and respects their contribution to Chicago’s economic base. As your Alderman, I will advocate strongly for thoughtful, consistent regulations and stable tax rates, so our small businesses can make realistic long-term plans for growth and expansion.
Serving Constituents in the Business Community
As your Alderman, I will use my office to provide direct links between City Hall and the Second Ward’s business community. I will make sure that our businesses have the opportunity to share their thoughts about new proposals, from changes in parking regulations to new taxes and fees.
I will make communication with constituents a top priority – talking face-to-face during ward meetings and using my newsletter to alert constituents to new policies and to promote local businesses and events. I also will keep an eye on best practices in other cities, helping to make Chicago a leader in supporting small business.
Cutting Red Tape
Small business owners know that time really is money. So when needless bureaucratic obstacles delay a business opening or postpone a planned expansion, those wasted days can be incredibly costly. As your advocate in City Hall, I will work to streamline permitting and inspection, making City services more business-friendly and working to expand online the City’s online permit and license portals.
Embracing 21st Century Business Technologies
We cannot support a 21st-century business community with municipal regulations that were developed decades ago. Online commerce, smartphones, and social media are making it possible for Chicago businesses to expand their customer base in ways we couldn’t imagine just a few years ago, and our City government needs to keep up with these developments. So, I will work with regulators to make sure that outdated rules do not create obstacles for Second Ward businesses that are serving their customers with the latest commercial technologies.
** To visit World Business Chicago’s business site selector tool, click here.