I have a confession to make: Prior to my tenure with the Deland Area Chamber of Commerce, I was what you might call a political operative. I worked on a number of campaigns, as high up as a race for Governor in Tennessee and as low as a Dog Catcher in Georgia (Note: it's still an elected post in some counties there). As an operative, I wrote speeches; I strategized; I did opponent research, and engaged in the occasional campaign prank. After an opponent was cited for poaching in his backyard, I sent out an unwitting aide (dressed in a bunny costume) to his next event with a sign that read "Don't shoot me but I hate your house bill!" It got a ton of local media coverage and even made the offending candidate smile. He went on to have a much bigger smile on Election Day trouncing my client by 10 points. What I remember most about that campaign was the campaign teams for both candidates meet out for drinks and dinner a few weeks later to have a laugh about the whole incident. You see, to most operatives - it's simply a job. The collateral damage left after a bruising campaign is usually the winner's problem. I preface this trip down memory lane to bring us to present day with a story about how a political operative's idea (concocted in a focus group somewhere in Washington) can even find its way all the way to Deland, Florida.
Last month, a young man was crossing our parking lot one evening when I was leaving. I nodded and he smiled and said "long day protecting all those rich businesses?" Fearing how that headline might read the following morning: "Chamber Executive Director drop kicks heckler into shrubbery", I did not acknowledge his comment and simply got into my car and drove home.
If I had a few more moments to talk to my young parking lot critic, I might have informed him that most of the businesses that make up a community chamber such as ours average about ten people and under - hardly the stuff of multi-world conglomerates or greedy robber barons. I think business - and most local business in particular - deserve better than simply being classified as "Good" or "Bad". Instead of falling for political operative talking points, what most businesses need right now are for people to tune out from all the talking points and to drop in to their local establishments for so much deserved financial support. They could use it right now.
Remember, after all the candidates are chosen (and the political operatives are paid): It's just us here…
Thank you for doing business in DeLand and West Volusia,