Detroit should give Republicans a chance to turn city around

Reince Priebus - November 14, 2013

Detroit Free Press
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus
November 14, 2013

Detroit has been the subject of national attention as outside observers watch for the Motor Capital of the World to bounce back after tough economic times.

As chairman of the Republican Party, I don’t want to just be an observer. I want our party to do our part to rebuild Detroit and advocate for the principles of free enterprise that hold the keys to the city’s success. We can offer solutions to get Detroit back on its feet, and I believe that it is up to leaders in our party to convince the people of Detroit to give our ideas a chance.

So on Tuesday, I came to Detroit to see firsthand the city’s successes and struggles. I came to hear directly from business owners and community leaders about what they need to get the city moving and people working. This wasn’t a political event. It wasn’t about campaigning. It was about listening — about finding out what we can do together to revitalize our urban centers across the country.

Our discussion focused on issues such as increasing access to capital, economic empowerment and the importance of entrepreneurship to jump-starting an economy. Too often, ambitious individuals can’t get their businesses started because they can’t get financing. It’s especially problematic in minority communities. And when small businesses can’t get off the ground, job-seekers can’t get back to work.

Our political leaders need to find ways to fix this problem. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, is one person doing something about it. Last week, he helped launch a program that will help women and minorities secure small-business loans through a public-private partnership between the state and Huntington Bank. This is an important step forward.

One of the other barriers to urban economic growth is excessive government regulation. Small businesses are strangled by red tape, but individuals are directly affected, too. In some states, it can take three years for someone to acquire the proper licensing for jobs like a security guard. People in Detroit want to work, and they want to work now. They shouldn’t have to spend months or years clearing government hurdles.

Snyder has been a leader, fighting for people who want an opportunity to work and a chance to achieve their vision of the American dream. Shortly after taking office, Snyder established the Office of Regulatory Reinvention to encourage entrepreneurship, cut red tape and restore economic growth.

That’s what the Republican Party believes in: getting over-reaching government bureaucrats out of the way so people are free to find success. Our party’s core values are freedom and opportunity. Democrats may say they are committed to growing the economy and putting people back to work, but their policies have suffocated the economy and kept too many people in poverty.

Some Democrats advocate for higher taxes as a solution to what plagues our economy without realizing that taxes punish the very things we want more of: productive work, risk-taking and success.

The Republican Party believes in the power of the free-enterprise system, which has done more to help Americans move up the economic ladder than any government program. In a free market, outcomes aren’t always going to be the same, but opportunity should be equal. There should be an equal, level playing field for each and every American — no matter where they come from.

Republicans are committed to doing our part to revive opportunity and restore economic growth. Working alongside of — and listening to — leaders like those I met in Detroit, we can address the needs of communities and remove the roadblocks to success.

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