By Mrinal Gokhale
With the 2020 presidential election just a few months away, Democratic Vice President Candidate Kamala Harris visited Milwaukee on Labor Day, the same day Vice President Mike Pence visited La Crosse. While here, she first toured the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) training facility and then participated in a “Build Better Milwaukee” roundtable. This was Harris’ first in-person visit for the Biden-Harris campaign.
The roundtable participants were Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, Co-Founder of Y.E.S. Qaiyim “Que” El-Amin, Vice President of JCP Construction James Phelps, Sherman Phoenix Co-Founder JoAnne Sabir, Director of the Office of Violence Prevention Reggie Moore and Founder of Jet Constellations Nadiyah Johnson.
Harris provided remarks on how the Biden-Harris administration would advance small business growth. She cited access to capital as an important source to small businesses survival. If elected, Harris stated that she and Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden would work to provide increased access to capital.
“Access to capital is about putting money into opportunity zones is one part, but also $150 billion in new capital and opportunities around investing in private venture capital as well as what the government can do,” Harris said.
Harris stated that during the COVID-19 pandemic, up to 90% of women and minority owned businesses did not receive assistance from the Paycheck Protection Program.
“Unlike how Donald Trump has been concerned about the wealthy, the people that are working every day and trying to raise their families do not have the access to those kinds of relationships and don’t receive benefits from something like the PPP,” Harris said.
Making tax credits permanent is another aspect that she believes would increase funding up to $5 billion annually to provide “credit to equity investment to small businesses that benefit low and moderate income areas.”
“This is also in the context of a pledge that Joe Biden and myself are making to small businesses throughout the country, including here in Milwaukee,” she said.
Before Harris left, Barnes closed with remarks.
“It is an important thing for us to have leaders who care, leaders who are going to show up and listen to the concerns, especially with so many black business owners at the table right now.”