Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-Minn.) visited London Road Rental Center in Duluth, Minn., last week to hold a press conference that officially kicked off his campaign for a second term in the House of Representatives. The Aug. 15 event was the second time Jerry Kortesmaki, owner of London Road Rental, has hosted the congressman.
London Road Rental Center has been an American Rental Association (ARA) member business since 2000.
“Rep. Cravaack decided to have this event at a private business instead of the federal building and our store was suggested,” Kortesmaki says. “Aside from cleaning things up a bit, we ran business as usual because the whole point was that his press conference was held at a business.”
According to Rep. Cravaack’s campaign, this was the best media event they’ve ever had. It was covered by all the news media in Duluth as well as Minnesota Public Radio, with about 30 to 40 people in attendance.
The congressman opened his remarks by explaining how getting to know Kortesmaki has helped him understand more about small businesses and the challenges business owners face. The remainder of Rep. Cravaack’s comments centered on his efforts to represent the voters in his district through his work in Washington, D.C. He also discussed Minnesota’s economy, taxes and the jobs connected with the potential expansion of mining in the state.
Kortesmaki was instrumental in Cravaack’s first campaign two years ago and he plans to be just as involved this time around. “Just like last time, he has no paid people on his campaign. It’s all grassroots. I’m going to be organizing the volunteers and doing what I can to help with his re-election. He has a lot of ideas about adding high-paying jobs here and if he can make Duluth grow, my business will grow,” he says.
“This event was very exciting to be a part of. Every store in every district should try to get their representatives in to talk with them about small business. I have to take a stand about government policy or I’m losing my business,” he says.
“The number of rental stores hosting town hall meetings like this is increasing each year,” says Alysia Ryan, ARA's director of state government affairs. “ARA members need to care about who is representing them in Washington, D.C., because the resulting policies truly do affect them. In addition, you never know where those relationships might lead. Leann Rodgers, director at Lakes Area Rental in Elkhorn, Wis., hosted Rep. Paul Ryan in her store in October of 2010. Because of her connection with him, we now have a candidate for vice president who knows and understands small business and the equipment rental industry.”