The nation’s small businesses have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic and the corresponding economic repercussions. Only a small number of those who received initial PPP funds expect to be able to maintain current payrolls without additional government assistance, according to Thomas Sullivan, vice president, Small Business Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Not surprisingly, the economy is front and center on most small business owners’ minds as they consider casting their ballots this November, according to the latest Small Business Index by MetLife & the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Tonight’s Presidential Debate

What do small business owners want to hear from President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden as they enter the home stretch of the 2020 presidential election campaign? 

The U.S. Chamber’s Sullivan spoke with owners in several battleground states to share what they will be listening for during the debates, which issues they hope the candidates will discuss in more detail, and why it all matters to their companies and their employees.

Here are excerpts of what the small business owners said about what they expected to hear tonight. Links at the bottom of each excerpt leads to a more complete response on

Traci Tapani

Owner and Co-President
Wyoming Machine, Inc.
Stacy, Minnesota

“The COVID-19 pandemic has identified many issues that need to be addressed.  Structural problems in health care, digital infrastructure (especially in rural areas), racial inequity, supply chain weaknesses, etc.  I want to know what actions the candidates would take and how they would prioritize the work that needs to be done to make our country and our economy stronger and more resilient.”

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Dick Cardew  

Cardew Hay Co.
Phoenix, Arizona 

“If I had to pick one issue that matters most to my business and livelihood, it would be the candidates’ ability to get a second round of COVID-related help done ASAP.   While our equity markets and, recently, commodity markets are chugging along, America’s small businesses are hurting.  I’m very concerned about a number of our clients who have seen dramatic declines in revenue since March of this year. ”


Zawadi Bryant   

Nightlight Pediatric Urgent Care
Houston, Texas

“I would like the candidates to discuss their plan to reform healthcare. Our healthcare system is broken, expensive, and inefficient…As a business owner, healthcare is one of my biggest expenses.  Each year the premiums go up and the coverage/benefit goes down. This is not sustainable.” 

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Adam Fazackerley 

Founder & COO
Alexandria, Virginia

“Many small businesses in the U.S. are on life support due to the impact of COVID-19 on their business.  Our customer mix went from being made up of 35% privately owned small retailers and spas to 10% almost overnight.  Doors were shut and the lights turned off.  While Lay-n-Go was able to find other digital channels to sell into, these closed businesses were not. We need to elect a President and Congressional leaders with clearly defined plans designed to bolster the Main Street economy through pro-business legislation and responsible financial support. 

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