By Jay McAninch
Editor’s Note: Each section of the article below is an abbreviated version of the complete presidential election piece featured in the next issue of ArrowTrade magazine, which should hit your mailbox by late October.
The 2012 presidential election will be an unusual event for me and, by extension, our industry. Why? It’s the first time one of the two presidential tickets includes someone I’ve worked with and know well. I’ve accumulated 14 years of experience with Paul Ryan, the Republican vice-presidential candidate, which brings understanding unmatched in my career’s work with other politicians. Beyond knowing his stance on our issues, I can vouch for his character and priorities – dimensions I might never again be privy to. As a result, I support the Romney-Ryan ticket.
Congressman Ryan is the first candidate for high office who not only knows the business of archery and bowhunting, but IS a bowhunter. He can discuss archery and bowhunting equipment in detail. He understands hunting tactics. He’s committed to hunting and quality deer management. On the business side, he has testified to congressional committees, and given media interviews to explain the complications of arrow taxes, the impacts of federal excise tax on our industry, and the regulatory burdens that hurt our small-business members.
Paul Ryan and Our Industry
When Pete Shepley, Erik Watts, Matt McPherson and about 20 other industry VIPs gathered in Minneapolis in December 2001 to create a strategic plan to grow archery and bowhunting, Congressman Ryan drove over from Wisconsin to address our “summit.” He urged them to work together as a group of small businesses to achieve success for our industry. He talked about his passion for small business, and his agenda for getting government out of the way of entrepreneurs. It’s this inclusive commitment to every business and every industry that, collectively, makes the U.S. economy strong.
Later, in 2003-04, Congressman Ryan educated members of Congress and the media on how federal excise tax applies to archery products, and why it mattered that all products be taxed fairly. He realized our industry is a collection of entrepreneurs (Main Street businesses), and helped people understand that small-business issues apply to businesses within recreation-based industries just as these issues apply to any other industry.
The Ryan Vision for America
Despite my level of trust and familiarity with Paul Ryan, and his deep support for our industry, the most important reason I support the Romney-Ryan ticket is because Paul’s vision for America is the one I want for our industry, my kids and grandkids.
Ryan believes in personal responsibility vs. government responsibility, in independence vs. dependence, and in success through hard work vs. “success” via government redistribution. The American dream is earned, not gifted. Our industry is full of people who sacrificed much to build their businesses from scratch. Paul Ryan holds such business owners in high regard and trusts that, as a group, our country’s future is in good hands.
Long before most Americans knew about Paul Ryan, he authored his “Roadmap to America’s Future,” a detailed plan promoting national prosperity but limiting government’s burden of spending, mandates and regulation. It ensured the opportunity for individuals to fulfill their potential and enjoy the satisfaction of their achievements. It secures the distinctly American legacy of leaving the next generation better off.
The Case for Romney
Now, many will ask, how does support for Paul Ryan justify an endorsement of Mitt Romney. It’s a fair question. Many question Romney’s appeal to voters and, specifically, his interest in shooting-, hunting- and conservation-based business issues. On issues that foster free trade, fair markets, profitability and professional customer service, Romney gets the nod largely because his business agenda resembles ours. Further, he supports sportsmen despite the fact he is not a shooter or hunter, and has not been a conservationist or direct supporter of conservation.
Some criticisms of Romney are simply unfair.
Why? McAninch considers criticisms and takes a deeper look at Romney’s association with Bain Capital, his wealth, foreign policy experience and his collaboration with Paul Ryan in the upcoming issue of ArrowTrade. Archerytrade.org will also post this article, in its entirety, days before the election on Nov. 6.