SmallBiz Vote

Businessman says Romney would boost exports

photo credit: sakamencho via flickr

GOP conventioneers appeared to take a break to mill around between speeches by Ohio Senator Rob Portman and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty last night. What they missed was Ohio businessman Steven Cohen's speech explaining how American businesses would benefit from a Romney administration.

Cohen is President of Screen Machine Industries, Inc., one of the largest manufacturers of construction and mining machinery—portable crushers, screeners, trommels, and conveyors—in North America with dealers worldwide. In July, Governor Romney made a campaign tour stop and speech at the 45-year-old family-run business' Pataskala, Ohio, plant. Cohen returned the favor with a visit to Tampa, Fla., to voice his support for a Romney presidency.

Cohen stressed that business people like him "need a president who will protect America's patented inventions, guard the value of our currency, and open up new markets for American products."

Patent protection is a big concern for Cohen, who said products that his company has spent years and tens of thousands of dollars innovating and patenting are "often stolen and copied overseas for a mere fraction of the price."

He also complained about "tariffs and unfair trade practices" that make it difficult to export products. "American small businesses face a mountain of regulations and taxes. Our international competitors do not have to face the upcoming costs associated with funding a multibillion dollar healthcare plan, overreaching emissions standards, and the unnecessary war on coal," he said. "We need an administration that will lessen tax burdens and government regulations that strangle small business."

Sticking to the evening's "We did build it" theme, Cohen did not mention that his company was recognized in 2006 with a U.S. Department of Commerce Export Achievement Certificate for making its first export sale and expanding into new international markets with the help of the Department's U.S. Commercial Service.

Nor did he refer to Screen Machine's "long and proud history of supplying heavy-duty American made equipment to governmental agencies and the U.S. military," or its recent completion of a contract awarded during the current administration "to supply a complete system to the U.S. Air Force at Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan"—his company's website boasts of those achievements.

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