Carly Fiorina: The Small Business Candidate for President?

Carly Fiorina:  The Small Business Candidate for President?

Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, will formally start her Presidential campaign on May 4, the Wall Street Journal reported recently. Small business owners should be happy for in Fiorina they have a candidate who cares about their issues.

The former HP CEO has made it clear in recent speeches that she is worried about American small business. At the New Hampshire Republican Party’s recent leadership summit in Nashua, Fiorina pointed out that “for the first time in U.S. history, we are destroying more businesses than we are creating.”

Fiorina believes that getting small business back on track is important to this country’s success. She told Inc. Magazine:

“If you look at our economy, big business is doing great, and big business is getting better, but small business is not. And if we can’t get this engine to go again, our economy won’t produce at its capacity, and the middle class will continue to be squeezed.”

Fiorina has been discussing three themes that small business owners are looking for Washington to tackle — tax reform, regulatory reform, and access to capital. The former HP CEO has said that Washington needs to “reform the tax code with small business in mind, not big business.” While she hasn’t laid out the specifics yet, she has called for reducing the tax burden and cutting government spending.

Small business owners tend to agree with Fiorina’s view of the importance of tackling problems with the tax system. According to the National Federation of Independent Business’s (NFIB) March 2015 Small Business Economic Trends report (PDF), taxes are small business owners’ “single most important problem” these days, just edging out government regulations.

Fiorina also wants regulatory reform. She blames government rules for many of the problems that American small businesses face today, and has advocated trimming regulations on small companies. One of her suggestions is to establish a task force of small company owners to review existing regulations and recommend rules for the chopping block.

Fiorina’s anti-regulation message should also resonate with small business owners. A year ago, a Gallup-Wells Fargo survey of small business owners reported that the second “most important challenge facing” small company owners today is government regulation.

A third plank of Fiorina’s entrepreneurship plan would be to improve small business access to finance. Overhauling the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill is a key piece of that plan. She told Inc. Magazine that “unlocking capital is very important.” Since the financial crisis, small business loans have dried up, she says, because “the Dodd Frank Act has curtailed capital to small business.”

Unfortunately for small business owners, Fiorina isn’t likely to win the Republican presidential nomination. In a CNN/ORC poll of 435 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, conducted between April 16 and 19, 2015, Fiorina was the candidate favored by only 2 percent of those queried. And that was the highest level of support recorded for her in four April polls summarized on

While Fiorina denies being interested in the vice presidency, small business owners should hope she changes her mind. Having her on the Republican ticket would get business owners a presidential advisor who understands and cares about small business.

Image: Carly Fiorina, Facebook

Scott Shane Scott Shane is A. Malachi Mixon III, Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Case Western Reserve University. He is the author of nine books, including Fool's Gold: The Truth Behind Angel Investing in America ; Illusions of Entrepreneurship: and The Costly Myths that Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Policy Makers Live By.