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Tom Donohue: Voice of Small Business

Tom Donohue is the CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce. He truly speaks for small businesses in America.  I mean, just look at how well he relates to what small businesses face every day.

BACK in the 1990s when Thomas J. Donohue was president of the American Trucking Associations, a subordinate raised a question at a staff meeting.

Some of the association’s members, the aide said, wondered whether it was really necessary for the group’s president to fly on a private jet.

Mr. Donohue, a scrappy Irish-American born in Brooklyn and raised on Long Island, turned to his chief of staff and asked how many seats his jet had. “Well, eight, sir,” the aide said. “Tomorrow morning I want you to call and get a 12-seater,” Mr. Donohue shot back. The subject never came up again.

These are the struggles that every small business faces in America.  Eight or twelve seats on the private jet?  Cristal or Moet in the jet’s mini fridge?  Grueling, life-or-death decisions like these are why Donohue represents the US Chamber’s 3 million 300,000 member businesses.

Except when he doesn’t.

For [Northwest Connecticut Chamber of Commerce President JoAnn] Ryan’s part, she’s dealing with the repercussions of that ad campaign already. She’s been fielding calls from constituents wondering why the local chamber is attacking Chris Murphy which, she says, it’s not.

“The chamber here is not attacking Chris Murphy,” she said. “We work very closely with Chris Murphy.”

Ryan called the issue of health care reform “very complicated,” and said that her local chamber has been put in a position of maintaining “balance.”

“They’re doing the job they have to do,” Ryan said of the U.S. chamber, but, “It’s not the approach that I would recommend.”

When asked if she felt that the U.S. chamber was putting her and the local chamber she runs in between local elected officials, Ryan responded, “They shouldn’t really do that.”

As I mentioned yesterday, the US Chamber is also fighting paid sick leave even for people sick with H1N1.  You can send Donohue a message about that bit here.

Image via Change to Win.

UPDATE: Much better image of Tom Donohue from Change to Win’s post today.  Check this:

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Michael Whitney

Michael Whitney

My name is Michael Whitney. I'm a progressive online organizer working with FDL Action. Rush Limbaugh called me "clueless" once. He went into rehab two days later.