When more than 100 business and nonprofit owners and groups showed up for a virtual town hall hosted by the New Jersey Business Coalition, the singular message was clear – their struggle in New Jersey, especially during the pandemic, is real.
And the powerful narrative registered on a bipartisan level. Democratic Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro told the group, in closing, that “we have to walk a mile in other people’s shoes to understand. That’s why this meeting is so important to me – because, let’s face it, without these small businesses, New Jersey wouldn’t be New Jersey.”
Republican Assemblyman Brian Bergen, after hearing of the great challenges faced by the business community, said more bluntly: “You are the lifeblood to our economy. Quite often, as part of the Legislature, what we do is get in your way – and it sucks and I apologize for that.”
As positive coronavirus tests rise and anxiety increases about the specter of further business restrictions, NJBIA has reproduced and packaged the virtual town hall into separate videos based on subject matter and speakers.
They are also being distributed to appropriate members of the state Legislature, based on their focus areas.
Those separated videos can now be found here, on NJBIA’s YouTube page:
- NJBC Virtual Town Hall: Mental Health Impacts on the Workforce and the Need for Safe Childcare
- NJBC Virtual Town Hall: Challenge of ‘One-Size-Fits-All’ and Liability Protection for Safe Employers
- NJBC Virtual Town Hall: Hospitality, Lodging and Restaurant Industries
- NJBC Virtual Town Hall: Main Street Retail and Real Estate
- NJBC Virtual Town Hall: Convention and Entertainment Industries
- NJBC Virtual Town Hall: Ensuring a Ready Workforce
“The virtual town hall told the story of the pain and heartache being experienced by New Jersey business owners and nonprofit executives,” said NJBIA President and CEO Michele Siekerka. “We heard these job creators and community leaders share the need for comprehensive fiscal resources, responsible increased capacity and their call to halt policies and mandates that are making their already-challenged workplaces even harder to sustain.
“Now that Election Day is passed, it’s imperative that we continue to drive home the message of New Jersey’s business community – that they are struggling and our policymakers can still do much to help it in a comprehensive manner.”
For the full story on the virtual town hall, click here.