A TV ad from Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna features a small business owner mocking Democrat Jay Inslee for part of his jobs plan: a new government office dedicated to helping businesses.
Karissa Bresheare, who owns a chain of espresso shops, says in the ad: “The last thing I need is another state agency, and Jay Inslee’s government bureaucrats, telling me how to run my business. Rob McKenna’s jobs plan will reduce red tape and help the private sector create jobs, not make government bigger.”
That’s a reference to Inslee’s proposal to create an Economic Competitiveness and Development office aimed at growing private sector jobs, especially in sectors such as clean energy and aerospace. His jobs plan also calls for new “sector leads” – advisers who would work to grow selected industries.
From Bresheare’s talk in the ad, you’d think a government agency could do nothing but get in the way of businesses and their job-creating ways.
But elsewhere Bresheare has had great praise for one government office that helped her business, along with many others. She’s featured on the website of the Small Business Development Center at Western Washington University, complimenting the advice she’s received there (a fact pointed out by the Inslee campaign).
Those small-business centers are a partnership of the federal Small Business Administration and the state, and they offer services such as aid in writing a business plan or obtaining financing. The services are publicly funded and provided at no charge to small business owners.
Does that mean Inslee’s proposed jobs agency is a good idea, or above criticism? Of course not. But it does provide a counterweight to the reflexive Republican argument, expressed in the McKenna ad, that government can’t possibly help businesses.
Bresheare is a member of the board of directors for the Washington Restaurant Association, which has endorsed McKenna. She did not respond to a call and email message.
But the McKenna campaign strongly disputed the idea that there is any conflict in Bresheare’s public statements.
“Our latest ad doesn’t focus on existing programs. It contrasts the candidates’ current proposals to create jobs. Karissa Bresheare volunteered to appear in our ad because she reviewed Congressman Inslee’s jobs plan and, as a small business owner, doesn’t think that a new state agency designed to help him pick winners and losers is the right approach,” said McKenna spokeman Charles McCray in an email.
Sterling Clifford, an Inslee spokesman, said via email Inslee wants “to make sure that all businesses in Washington have access to the kind of help Ms. Bresheare got as she built her business.”