Congressman Bobby Rush

Representing the 1st District of Illinois

Rush Addresses MMTC Access to Capital and Telecommunications Policy Conference

Jul 21, 2011
Press Release

CONTACT: Renee Ferguson
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Sharon Jenkins
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             "Own whatever you can.  We need more ownership and less renters.”

WASHINGTON –– U. S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-IL) spoke to more than 200 minority and women business leaders encouraging them to become fully engaged in the technologies that are changing our world.  Here is a recap of his remarks as delivered this morning at the Westin Georgetown Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Rush Praises MMTC’s leadership…

“Good morning and thank you so very much for welcoming me here this morning.  This is one of those organizations that is very, very close to my heart.  Yours is an organization that I have the utmost respect for and I feel as though I’m obligated to be of service to you whenever the need arises. David Honig has been a long-term friend and supporter of mine.  I want to thank him for all of his activities on my behalf, particularly when I was running for the Ranking Member of the subcommittee on telecommunications in the new congress and he was right there.  And my friend who is a sister beloved to me, Julia Johnson, is a remarkable force of nature for good.  I always enjoy reading about her, hearing about her and collaborating with her on issues facing the American people and facing minorities in particular.

Recent energy issues…

“I am going to be very brief because I do have responsibilities on Capitol Hill.  We are having a hearing on pipeline safety legislation, this morning, which is something that is extremely important to the American people.  And I really just want to take a moment to ask you to really look at the American pipeline industry to see where you might find a fit.  There is a scarcity of minorities who are involved as are many others.  As Americans, we need to realize the opportunities in this sector.  Our nation needs more domestic energy sources and there’s going to have to be more pipeline production, design and repair work.  There are billions of dollars getting ready to be spent on pipeline production and one measure that’s before the Congress is whether or not there’s going to be an XL pipeline that would extend from Canada all the way down to New Orleans.  And, so, that’s about 2,500 miles of pipeline that’s going to have to be laid.  Somebody’s going to have to lay it!  And I, certainly, would like to see some African Americans designing it and being engineers on the pipeline project in the future. Which leads me to my prepared remarks.

Small businesses in the global economy…

“Small firms are clearly the most important factor in the American economy.  They’re important to the economy and they’re important to the workers in the economy.  Small businesses represent almost 100%, or, more precisely 99.7 percent of all employer firms.  They employ just over half of all private sector employees, pay 44 percent of total U.S. private payroll, and have generated 64 percent of net new jobs over the past 15 years. 

These are small firms.  And I’m going to have to disagree with my friend Leo Hindery [he spoke earlier].  Go for ownership if ownership is available.  If you’ve got an eye for ownership, go for ownership.  I don’t care where it is.  I have to say, you know, to pull upon my pastoral and biblical references.  When God told Abraham to leave and go into the land of milk and honey, he didn’t say go and rent in the land of the milk and honey, he said go and possess it!  And when he prayed for mankind he said have dominion.  Don’t rent, have dominion.  Don’t be employed by it but own it, alright?   And, so, Leo, I’m going to have to disagree with you. Own whatever you can.  We need more ownership and less renters.  O.k.

Main street businesses have had a tough go of it in our prolonged, recessionary economy of the past few years.  Not to mention the millions of dependent employees and customers who have suffered sharp paycheck cuts, dramatic layoffs, severe inventory reductions and credit and asset write-downs and write-offs.  So the major questions surrounding access to capital are can the main street businesses, small businesses accept the capital and the credit that they need to grow and to create jobs?  Can they access the capital and credit that they need?  How can main street businesses negotiate existing credit and equity markets which have not been functioning well for some time in order to commercialize their innovations and take advantage of fleeting market opportunities?  And, what can government do in today’s uncertain economy to ensure more owners of existing small businesses that take on extra risks that are sometimes needed to secure capital and to hire more employees?

Let me just say that I really reflected on this and I’ll mention one of the things I want to do in terms of helping you to get more access to capital.  I think this will be something that if we work on this idea that I have, vigorously and with some commitment, I think we might be successful.

Last week, I was authorized by the House of Representatives to create the Congressional Access to Capital Caucus.  One of the things this Caucus can do is to bring together the different stakeholders, business groups and different investors.  We can bring those folks together on Capitol Hill, alright, to talk about how to help new entrepreneurs gain access to capital using some of the capital resources that they might not have in hand.  I think this would be a terrific way to marry entrepreneurs with those who have a command of capital and to sit down and have some meaningful dialogue and, perhaps, lead to some very useful deals.  And, so, I would invite you to join with me and let’s make this Access to Capital Caucus something that really works on behalf of you and on behalf of American entrepreneurs.

A commitment to action…

My job as I see it in Congress, my job is to help create millionaires and billionaires who look like me, who represent the same kind of folk that I represent and that’s not to say that others can’t be in it.  We want to include others but I know that part of the problem that I face on a day to day basis, both as a pastor and also as a politician, is the fact that we don’t have enough jobs circulating in and around districts like mine, in the City of Chicago and across the nation.  And, so, a part of my role is that during my time upon this Earth, if I can help create some entrepreneurs, some millionaires then I know that I should also be able to help create some jobs, and some job holders, and that’s my desired goal.”

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NOTE:  A complete transcript of Rush’s remarks will soon be posted to his website and Facebook page.