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This week, the House Committee on Small Business held a hearing entitled, "National Small Business Week: Celebrating our Main Street Champions" where we heard from business owners from all over the country. Representing Missouri's 3rd District was Jan Haviland, owner of the Haviland Corporation in Linn whose in-laws started this family business in 1946. They manufacture squeegees and, as small businesses do so well, continue to evolve with the changing demand as the industry does.

Like many small businesses during the pandemic, Haviland not only kept their doors open and employees paid but they also adapted their product lines to include PPE in the form of washable gowns for Osage County. It is testament to the role they play in the local community and how quickly entrepreneurs and small businesses are to help solve problems facing our society. In her testimony, Ms. Haviland stated that this family-owned small business believes in "Americans helping Americans," and reinvesting in both its employees and community by keeping things American-made and taking care of the fewer than 20 people who work there. Businesses like the Haviland Corporation are vital to the success and prosperity of Missouri communities, and I am so proud this 75-year-old family business continues to call the 3rd District home.

Throughout this week's hearing, we heard from several other business owners who stated that while demand has largely gone back to normal, there are new hurdles to jump. Nationwide labor shortages have caused major problems across the board, from causing raw material price increases for manufacturers like Haviland Corporation, to restaurants who can't fully open because they don't have enough servers to wait on every table. We also heard many concerns about overregulation from the federal government and potential tax hikes from this new administration that would absolutely cripple these businesses who have been through enough as it is following the pandemic.

As the top Republican on the Small Business Committee, it is my job to ensure small businesses in Missouri and across America have the freedom, resources, and support they need to thrive and keep our communities in business. Whether it's pushing back against horrible tax policy, reining in regulators, or ensuring the Small Business Administration's programs, like PPP and the 7A loans, are functioning properly, our committee's sole purpose is to represent and support America's entrepreneurs and small businesses. They are America's number one job creator and play a huge role in the success of local economies and Main Street America. I take my job as their champion here in Congress very seriously.

From restaurants, to manufacturers, hardware stores, florists, coffee shops, sign-makers — you name it, the 3rd District's got it. Our state's small businesses, many of them family-owned, are part of what makes Missouri great. I feel very fortunate to represent a state with a governor who shares many of my views. Gov. MIke Parson saw that Missouri was bouncing back from the COVID-19 economic interruption relatively quickly and no longer needed emergency federal unemployment benefits. As a result, our workforce continues to strengthen and businesses have been able to slowly but surely staff back up, allowing our favorite small businesses to operate at an increasingly normal capacity. There is still work to be done, but Missouri is headed in the right direction. Please continue to support Missouri businesses and shop local. I will continue to do everything in my power with my committee and as the Representative of so many wonderful 3rd District businesses to ensure they have the tools they need to thrive.

U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., shares his perspective each week on national issues, including ones that affect Missouri. He represents the state's 3rd District, which includes Jefferson City. His local office can be reached at 635-7232.

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