Editorial Board Statement: Key Questions for Candidates Seeking Public Office

As election season approaches, the stakes are high for Ohio’s small and minority-owned businesses. The decisions made by those we elect to public office can have far-reaching implications on business development, economic equity, and community growth. It is crucial that our political leaders understand and prioritize the needs of small and minority-owned enterprises.

Therefore, we urge voters, especially those involved in small and minority business sectors, to critically evaluate candidates based on their past actions, proposed policies, and commitment to fostering a more equitable business environment.

Questions to Consider Asking Candidates:

  1. What have you done for Black-owned & minority businesses during your career?
    A candidate’s past actions often predict future behavior. Understanding what they have already done can give valuable insight into their commitment to minority business development.
  2. What do you promise to do for Black-owned & minority businesses if elected?
    Campaign promises may not always be fulfilled, but they can indicate a candidate’s priorities.
  3. What Black-owned & minority businesses do you regularly purchase products or services from?
    This question tests the candidate’s personal commitment to supporting minority-owned enterprises.
  4. Why should Black-owned & minority business owners vote for you?
    This is the opportunity for candidates to make their case directly to an influential voter base.
  5. How important is Black-owned & minority business development to the overall Ohio economy?
    Understanding the economic landscape requires recognizing the vital role of small and minority-owned businesses.
  6. Are minority business set-asides and goals in city/county/state government still important, and why?
    This question gauges candidates’ understanding of systemic barriers that minority businesses often face.
  7. What can the city/county/state do to improve its purchasing with minority businesses?
    Look for specific, actionable plans rather than general or vague responses.
  8. What should minority-owned businesses do to secure city/county/state contracts?
    This tests the candidate’s knowledge of existing processes and what might need to change for greater equity.
  9. Is there anything else, aside from contracting, that the city/county/state can do to assist MBEs (Minority Business Enterprises)?
    This question opens the floor for candidates to discuss other forms of support, such as grants, education, or mentorship programs.
  10. Who are the major contributors to your campaign?
    Knowing who financially supports a candidate can reveal potential biases or conflicts of interest.

By asking these questions, voters can better understand how candidates plan to address the critical issues facing Ohio’s small and minority-owned businesses. It is imperative that we hold our elected officials accountable, not just through our votes but also through informed questioning and dialogue.

Make your voice heard. Ask the tough questions because the future of small and minority businesses in Ohio depends on it.


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