Crist in Clearwater, listens to small-business concerns
CLEARWATER --- Charlie Crist convened a small-business roundtable in downtown Clearwater Wednesday, listening to business owners vent their frustrations with federal loans and government regulations.
About a dozen small-business owners, most from St. Petersburg, complained of difficulties with Small Business Adminstration loans: too much paperwork and hassle, they said. They also said local governments put up too many roadblocks in the way of entreprenneurs.
All levels of government should be more responsive to small business owners, Crist said. If elected, he'd put his district office to work helping business owners navigate federal paperwork, he said.
"You've got to listen before you fix things," Crist said. And, mostly, he listened.
Crist, a Democrat, is likely to face incumbent Republican David Jolly in the 13th Congressional District race
Jolly was in Washington, D.C. as Congress is in session, but his Pinellas schedule will pick up significantly in the coming weeks when he comes home, said spokeswoman Sarah Bascom.
Jolly faces retired Marine brigadier genera Mark Bircherl in the Aug. 30 Republican primary. Crist is unopposed for the Democratic nomination. A challenger, Eric Lynn, dropped out in May to run for a state house seat.