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Van Hollen is no friend to businesswomen

Gov. Larry Hogan announces his endorsement for Kathy Szeliga for U.S. Senate. (Michael Dresser/Baltimore Sun video)

As businesswomen here in Maryland, we were very disappointed to see an organization that calls itself the U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce recently endorse Rep. Chris Van Hollen in the U.S. Senate race in Maryland.

Mr. Van Hollen has a 38 percent lifetime voting record with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. That means he votes against Maryland businesses more than 60 percent of the time. He also has a 20 percent lifetime voting record with the National Association of Manufacturers and a 0 percent voting record with the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) in this Congress.

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On the other hand, Mr. Van Hollen's opponent, Del. Kathy Szeliga, is both a woman and a Maryland small business owner. She has a 98 percent lifetime voting record with Maryland Businesses for Responsive Government and was recently endorsed by the NFIB. You would think that an organization that calls itself the U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce would support a female candidate with a strong pro-business voting record who is a small business owner herself.

However, once we looked into it, we realized very quickly this group was not what it claims to be. The so-called U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce is not actually a group that represents the interests of businesswomen, they represent the interests of Democrats. In fact, this year they have only endorsed Democrat candidates, many of whom, like Mr. Van Hollen, have consistently voted against businesses and businesswomen.

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For example, this organization endorsed Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut who has a 15 percent voting record in this Congress with the NFIB. They also endorsed Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin who had a 25 percent lifetime voting record with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce when he was in the Senate. Clearly, these candidates are not working in the best interest of businesses or businesswomen and should not be supported by any organization that claims to represent the interest of businesses.

As businesswomen, we are appalled that a group would attempt to mislead Marylanders by calling themselves the U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce when they clearly do not represent what is best for businesswomen or businesses in general. They should be ashamed of themselves.

If Marylanders want a leader in Washington who understands what businesses in our state need to grow and thrive, they should vote for Delegate Szeliga. As a small business owner, she knows what it means to sign the front of a paycheck and how to balance a budget. She has been a strong advocate for Maryland businesses and their employees and will continue to support us in the Senate.

Patricia A. Scott, Bel Air and Sheryl Davis Kohl, Aberdeen

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The writers are, respectively, owner of A Better Answer, Inc. and owner of Beacon Staffing Alternatives, Inc.

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