Voter Voices: Some small biz owners undecided

By The Associated Press | Small Business

Many political pundits say that most voters have made up their minds, but some are still figuring out who they will support in November's presidential election. Some say they are waiting for October's presidential debates to decide. The Associated Press talked with three small business owners about who they are supporting for president and why. Here's what they had to say:

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NAME, PARTY AFFILIATION: David Lewis, Independent

VOTING FOR: Undecided

WHY: Lewis doesn't care which political party wins, he just wants the same party in the White House and in Congress. "I'm voting for the person who will end the gridlock," Lewis says. He plans to read newspapers and polls to see which party will likely win the Senate and House of Representatives. Then he'll decide who will get his vote. "The only way there will be some level of change is if one party dominates the election," Lewis says. "It may come down to me making a decision 30 minutes before I get in the car and drive to the polling place."

BUSINESSES: OperationsInc and AllCountyJobs.com, Norwalk, Conn. OperationsInc is a human resources consulting firm that he started in 2001. AllCountyJobs.com is a job posting website that he acquired in May.

HOW WAS BUSINESS FOUR YEARS AGO: "Business softened significantly in 2008 because the bottom fell out of the economy," Lewis says. But he didn't have to lay off any of his 35 employees.

HOW IS BUSINESS NOW: Up 50 percent in the last 18 months, Lewis says. He recently hired someone for a newly created position.

HOW MANY PEOPLE DO YOU PLAN TO HIRE IN THE NEXT 12 MONTHS: Lewis plans to hire two people by the end of the year. The election could change that, he says. If Congress and the White House don't reach a budget deal, and America's debt rating is downgraded, it could trigger a slowdown, Lewis says. He says he will reconsider hiring new people if that happens.

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NAME, PARTY AFFILIATION: Chris Hundley, Republican

VOTING FOR: Undecided

WHY: Hundley says he won't make a decision until after watching the debates between President Obama and Gov. Romney. "They are both talking about jobs but I haven't heard a concise plan yet," he says. In the past, Hundley has voted for candidates in both parties.

BUSINESS: Limousine Connection, Los Angeles: A car service with mainly corporate clients. The company owns a fleet of vehicles including SUVs, sedans, vans and stretch limousines. Hundley founded the company in 1978.

HOW WAS BUSINESS FOUR YEARS AGO: Business slowed in 2008, but it was at its worse in 2009.

HOW IS BUSINESS NOW: "It has recovered but it's not at 2007 levels yet," Hundley says. The company has picked up more market share as other companies went out of business during the financial crisis, he says.

HOW MANY PEOPLE DO YOU PLAN TO HIRE IN THE NEXT 12 MONTHS: He hired 5 chauffeurs in the past six weeks to prepare for a busier September and October. He says that September has been busier than expected, but he doesn't plan to hire any more people in the next year.

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NAME, PARTY AFFILIATION: Enrico Gonzalez del Campillo, Democrat

VOTING FOR: Obama

WHY: "I feel like Obama earned four more years to fix the country's problems," he says, citing the president's success in getting his health care plan passed. "He has articulated policies that are straight forward," he says. He thinks that Romney hasn't. "He gets up and doesn't say anything," Gonzalez del Campillo says.

BUSINESS: Pastificio Nicolina, New York: The company makes fresh pasta and ravioli for restaurants and catering companies. He also licenses the pasta recipe to clients who want to make it themselves. He started the company in 2001. It has six employees, including Gonzalez del Campillo.

HOW WAS BUSINESS FOUR YEARS AGO: It slowed as less people ate out less and big companies cut back on throwing big parties. He adapted by selling his pasta to wealthy clients and private chefs.

HOW IS BUSINESS NOW: "It picked back up," he says. "People are entertaining more and spending more money." Gonzalez del Campillo plans to start selling pasta and other goods on the company's website within the year.

HOW MANY PEOPLE DO YOU PLAN TO HIRE IN THE NEXT 12 MONTHS: He has yet to decide whether to hire new employees to support the website yet. He is waiting to see what kind of demand there is first. But the election results won't affect his decision to hire. "In New York we live in a cocoon," he says. "Whoever is president doesn't really matter. People will still eat out."

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