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In 1989, I immigrated to the United States to seek business opportunity and escape burdensome regulations and high taxes. With $2,000 cash and a credit card, I founded a dental insurance company and launched my American dream. Nearly three decades later, Dental Select operates in 46 states and insures half a million people and thousands of businesses and organizations throughout the country.
America is one of the few countries in the world where that’s possible. Building my company, creating jobs, and providing value to our customers has been among the most rewarding experiences of my life.
Next month, I look forward to another proud moment – casting my first vote as an American.
As an immigrant, I started my life in the United States on various visas before eventually obtaining a green card and becoming a resident alien. I spent most of the past 30 years growing my small business, contributing to my local economy, paying taxes, and enjoying all the things that come with being an American, except one – I couldn’t vote. Until now, that is. In January, I proudly earned my U.S. citizenship, and on November 6, I am excited to cast my first vote as an American.
I’m even more excited because there’s so much riding on the midterm elections. Never has it been more important to make our voices heard, and every vote in every race around the country counts.
For business owners, the stakes couldn’t be higher. After decades of high taxes and high regulatory barriers, our government has provided significant regulatory relief since the start of last year. Even more importantly, Congress passed a tax reform law last year that has allowed businesses like ours to expand into new markets and hire new employees. It’s imperative that we sustain that momentum.
I believe lawmakers should, for example, make permanent the temporary tax breaks included in the tax reform law. Uncertainty around future tax rates makes it difficult for companies like ours to invest and expand with confidence. And if those highest-in-the-world business tax rates return, U.S. businesses would yet again find ourselves at a global disadvantage.
More broadly, I plan to vote for candidates who support free enterprise and pro-business policies. I attribute most of my success to the freedoms we have here in the United States, and free enterprise is one of those freedoms. Free enterprise is what afforded me the opportunity to start my own business and provide financial opportunity and security to my 100 employees and their families.
No matter which issues matter most to you, though, the most important thing is that you vote. There’s no more important right that comes with our citizenship than the right to make your voice heard. There’s also no more important civic responsibility. I encourage every single person across the country to exercise that right on Election Day.
If you own a business, take a moment to remind your employees to vote, too – not for whom to vote, but just to vote. On the U.S. Chamber’s voter education portal, you can register to vote, find your polling place, access early voting information, and download print materials to help remind your staff to cast their ballots on Election Day.
So whether it’s your first time or your fortieth time voting, I hope you and your employees will join me at the polls on November 6.