WASHINGTON – U.S. Reps. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, and Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, announced the creation of a bipartisan Congressional Small Business Caucus in the 113th Congress on Tuesday.
Members of the new caucus will work to give small-business owners a new platform in the nation's capital, Tipton said in a news release.
Caucuses are congressional groups designed to promote a specific idea or cause. But unlike committees, caucuses do not have law-making powers.
Tipton and Pingree will bring their experiences as small-business owners to the caucus, the release said. Tipton also is a member of the House Small Business Committee.
“As a lifelong small-business owner, I've experienced many of the challenges that go along with operating a small business and signing the front of a paycheck,” Tipton said in the release. “I intend to use this experience as a guide for our work on the Small Business Caucus.”
Tipton co-founded Mesa Verde Indian Pottery in Cortez with his brother, Joe, after graduating from college more than 30 years ago. However, Tipton is no longer involved in the day-to-day decisions of the business.
“While his days running the small business are past, his experience as a small businessman informs the work he does in Congress, including that on the Small Business Committee and now the Small Business Caucus,” said Tipton spokesman Josh Green in a telephone interview Tuesday.
Mesa Verde Indian Pottery, which works with Native Americans to produce and market pottery, is closed for the winter, as it was last year. Green said the business, which relies heavily on seasonal tourism, plans to reopen in the spring.
Pingree has owned several small businesses in Maine, according to the news release.
Seventeen other members of Congress joined the 113th's Small Business Caucus by Tuesday, according to the release, including U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Yuma.
There was a congressional Small Business Caucus in the 112th Congress, but one chairman retired and the other lost his bid for re-election.
Stefanie Dazio is a student at American University in Washington, D.C., and an intern for The Durango Herald. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.