Posted November 9, 2010

Palin a big hit at STAFDA

by Rich Vurva, special for Contractor Supply

Promoting pro-business themes of lower taxes and smaller government, former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin spoke to an enthusiastic crowd at the 34th annual STAFDA Convention and Trade Fair in Phoenix on Monday.

Sarah PalinThe face of the Tea Party political movement, Palin was introduced by incoming STAFDA president Mike Kangas of Alaska Industrial Hardware, a resident of Wasilla, Alaska, where Palin once served as mayor.

After taking the stage to enthusiastic applause, Palin joked, "A president from Alaska. Imagine that."

In her approximately 45-minute speech, Palin emphasized the important role that members of the construction supply channel fulfill in the economic success of the nation. "I appreciate what you do," Palin said, calling STAFDA members "unpretentious, hardworking job creators."

Her comments were well received by the audience, which interrupted her several times for applause. She called the results of the recent elections, in which Republicans gained control of Congress, "good for all Americans" and particularly for business.

"You as business owners were the recipient of an extra special and significant victory. Business leaders are the unsung heroes of America and American greatness," Palin said. Frequently quoting former President Ronald Reagan, she called entrepreneurs "the explorers of the modern era because you are men and women with vision and the courage to take risks."

She said America's future depends on the success of small business and criticized elected officials in Washington, D.C., for making life difficult for job creators and small business owners.

"Maybe that's because there are so few of them in D.C. and in the cabinet who have any kind of private sector experience," she said. "I wish a prerequisite before entering into an elected office was to have at least worked in, if not owned, a business in the private sector where you learn how to make payroll and balance a budget."

She called this election year the year of the small business entrepreneur. She credited the Tea Party movement for making both sides of the political aisle rethink the way they do business.

She said the Tea Party movement helped the country recognize that the nation is dangerously in debt, has failed to protect the nation's borders, and enacted health care legislation against the will of the people that will cause health care administrative costs for businesses to rise.

"We saw small mom-and-pop businesses closing down because they can't compete when government over-regulates them and tilts the playing field in favor of the big guys who can afford the lobbyists that write the regulations that affect all of us," she said.

"The President is proposing failed, big government, top-down solutions to the problems that we're facing," she said. "Instead of local, limited government, he's taken a government that is already too big and he super-sized it."

Palin added that the newly elected Republican Congress needs to prove that it "really is the party of limited government and fiscal responsibility."

Her goals for Congress are to repeal Obamacare, reduce the deficit and government spending by instituting across-the-board spending cuts and hiring freezes and adopting zero-based budgeting, and reform how Congress conducts business. She predicted that one of the outcomes of the administration's deficit reduction commission will be the creation of a value add tax or VAT.

Citing wasteful spending programs such as a scientific study to "capture and listen to ants in East Africa" and a project to build a "Tallahassee turtle tunnel" for turtles to safely cross the street in Florida, Palin criticized the effectiveness of the president's stimulus program.

"I don't know what it stimulated besides the Tea Party movement," she said.