The Oregon Small Business Council took center stage this week as Jim Houser of Hawthorne Auto Clinic emceed a nationwide press call with Representative Earl Blumenauer (OR-3) and four small business owners from other states who have experienced difficult increases in health insurance costs.

Our friends at the Main Street Alliance have put the audio from the call up online for you to hear.

Download a recording of the call here.

Representative Brian Baird (WA-03) announced today that the U.S. Department of Labor has awarded $5,000,000 in grant funding to the Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership for its proposed Renewable Northwest (ReNW) Energy Training Partnership program.

Rep. Brian Baird

Rep. Brian Baird

The grant is estimated to train and educate approximately 1,700 dislocated and unemployed Washington and Oregon workers to meet the needs of employers in renewable technology.

Rep. Baird had this to say:

Investing in renewable technologies not only stimulates new domestic industries but also promotes economic development and reduces our dependence on foreign oil. During tough economic times and record unemployment in Southwest Washington, projects like ReNW help bring quality, up-to-date energy training and education to our workers.

Read the full release at Natural Resource Report.

Corvallis business owner Gail Wells published a letter to the editor of the Corvallis Gazette-Times this weekend highlighting why she is supporting Measures 66 & 67.

From the letter:

I don’t relish paying taxes; nobody does. But I consider them a fair price for doing business in a state that values education. I’m in the communications business, so I depend on educated readers. I wouldn’t do well in a state that didn’t care about its schools.

I believe most business owners would agree that educated, trained, skilled citizens are essential to a strong economy and an attractive quality of life.

Read the rest of Gail’s letter here.

The Oregon Small Business Council issued the following release today after signing on as an official coalition partner of the Vote Yes for Oregon campaign.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, January 6, 2010
The Oregon Small Business Council today endorsed a Yes vote on Oregon Ballot Measures 66 and 67, citing the importance of preserving essential services and the soft impact the measures have on small business.

“These measures are necessary footholds to maintain vital services in tough times,” said OSBC Board Chair Mark Kellenbeck of Cascade Management in Grants Pass. “Small businesses will be minimally impacted while more dollars spent will remain in Oregon.”
Measure 66 raises the personal income tax on households reporting more than $250,000 in annual income. Measure 67 fairly increases the corporate minimum tax to keep more dollars in Oregon while protecting small employers from any job-killing effects.
“As small businesses continue to create jobs around the state,” Kellenbeck continued, “these measures will ensure our employees and their families a sound education, public safety, health care and other essential services needed to secure our state’s economic recovery.
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The Oregon Small Business Council is a statewide nonprofit organization providing advocacy, networking and education for small business owners.



You may have already heard: the United States Senate took a monumental step toward passing its health care reform bill early Monday morning by approving a cloture motion on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s so-called manager’s amendment, which contains the compromises made to reach 60 votes. Now the bill will continue debate before voting on final passage, probably Thursday, December 24.

What you can do

Call Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden to thank them for their votes to move forward and their continued hard work on health care reform that works for small businesses. After final passage, we’ll focus our efforts on the conference negotiations, where the final details will be worked out between the House and Senate versions before it becomes law. Keep in touch as we move forward in the next couple weeks.

And after that?

The Oregon Small Business Council is moving from its infancy into adulthood, and we need your help. As we look ahead to January, please consider helping us grow by doing one or more of the following:

  • Fill out our short issues survey so we know what issues are important to you as a small business owner.

  • Host a small business networking event–happy hour, coffee hour, etc.–to help network with other business owners in your area and work toward the goal of building successful and sustainable local economies.

  • Recruit five small business owners from your block, neighborhood or city. Local economies are only as strong as the network to sustain them, and we need your help to build a strong advocacy force for small businesses that can stand up to out-of-state corporations and other well-funded special interests. Your friends can sign up here.

  • Volunteer for a leadership position. As we move forward, our structure is changing. We are now seeking officers for a board of directors and volunteers to work on policy issue committees.

For more information on any of these opportunities, please contact Andrew at 971-634-0010 or andrew@oregonaction.org.

We truly appreciate your ongoing involvement and hope to keep working with you to build a one-stop shop for small business advocacy, education and networking in 2010 and beyond. Please enjoy time with your family and friends this holiday season and think about how you’d like to build Oregon’s small business economy in the new year.

The Oregon Small Business Council has received grant funding to hire two part-time, temporary paid interns to assist in building our base and reaching out to small business owners. Details about the grant and internship are below.

2009 Main Street Allaince Winter Basebuilding Internship Program

Summary: The Fall Basebuilding Internship program will provide an opportunity for MSA partners to bring on canvassing interns to conduct outreach and build a base for expanding the small business organizing agenda to other national issues after health care, including financial regulatory reform and climate/energy issues.

Timeframe: December 14, 2009 – January 29, 2010 (6 week commitment)

Requirements: The interns hired for small business canvassing will need to be experienced organizers and have the ability to meet measurable outcomes weekly.  In addition they should have the ability to work independently, engage small business owners & complete weekly reports and work plans. This internship will pay $1,500 per intern.  We expect to hire two for this project.

Deliverables:

  • Survey collection: Collect 150-200 issue-based surveys from small business owners. (50 hours)
  • Petition signers: Collect signatures from 100 small business owners on each of two new issue petitions, one on energy/climate change and the other on financial reform. (50 hours)
  • Story collection: Collect 20 issue-targeted statements (100-150 words) and/or video clips from small business owners on priority issues. (20 hours)
  • LTEs and op-eds: Submit 20 LTEs (100-150 words) and 3 op-eds (500-600 words) with supportive business owners. (25 hours)
  • Spokesperson team: Conduct one-on-ones with 20 business owners and build a list of 5-7 small business owners for each issue who are on message and willing to serve as spokespeople to decision-makers, the media and the public. (20 hours)
  • Action steps: Generate rapid response calls or other action steps mobilizing small business owners to contact decision-makers. (20 hours)
  • Meetings with decision-makers: Recruit and prep small business spokespeople for delegation visits with Congressional offices and/or secondary targets as needed. (15 hours

Planning & Reporting:

  • The Main Street Alliance will provide a planning form for the host organization to use to outline an outreach plan for the interns. This plan will include new canvass-based outreach and may also include follow-up contacts using existing lists.
  • The interns will submit weekly workplans and weekly reports at the end of each week using forms provided by MSA.
  • The interns and their supervisor will complete an interim progress report at the midpoint of the internship and a final evaluation upon completion of the project.

To apply, send resume and cover letter to Oregon Action Executive Director Jo Ann Bowman at joann@oregonaction.org no later than 5:00 p.m. Thursday, December 10.

OSBC member Jenelle Isaacson of Living Room Realtors in Portland published a letter to the editor of the Oregonian today about Senator Jeff Merkley’s provision for the Senate health care bill to require employers to provide reasonable break time and clean, private space for nursing mothers to express breast milk.

From the letter:

Like 72 percent of moms, I work full-time. I am writing in support of Sen. Jeff Merkley’s amendment to the final health care bill that provides for nursing mothers a reasonable break time to express milk at their place of employment (paid or unpaid) for one year after the birth of their child.

Read the rest of Jenelle’s terrific letter here.