Tart Lumber Co. hosts Republican pledge

Congressman John Boehner (at head of table) and Tart Lumber’s Craig Fritsche (at left)

Sterling. Va., lumberyard Tart Lumber played host to 13 congressmen, led by House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, Sept. 23 to unveil the Republican Party’s “Pledge to America.”

The 45-page booklet is reminiscent of Newt Gingrich’s 2004 “Contract with America” and outlines the party’s goals for reforming the federal government.

Tart Lumber owner Craig Fritsche said he was honored his business was chosen as the backdrop of the event.

“I was blown away,” Fritsche told Home Channel News. “I was excited; I was ecstatic. I’m happy to be a part of it because I do believe the party needs to put a stake in the ground and say what you’re voting for.”

Fritsche said he was asked to participate in a press conference Aug. 4 to explain what increasing taxes would mean to small businesses.

“I thought I gave a good talk, but nobody covered it anywhere,” he said. “It didn’t make the news anywhere, but somebody on the Hill must have seen it and liked the way I presented myself and some of the points I made.”

Fritsche said he thinks his business fits the profile of the kind of business the Republican party is trying to help. The business has been struggling since the downturn, but Fritsche has held a commitment to keeping his employees.

“We’re trying to keep everyone on the payroll, even though we’re losing money, because we believe in our people,” he said. “And so we have a good story to tell, and certainly raising our taxes would not be a good thing to do right now.”

Before presenting the pledge, Fritsche and some other small-business owners sat down with the congressmen for a 30-minute roundtable discussion about the issues concerning small business.

“They asked us how we felt, how was business, what we’d like to see,” he said. “I made some notes, and the No. 1 thing I was trying to push was, ‘Don’t increase taxes during a fragile recovery.’ If GE is going to pay 35%, why should I be paying 39.6%?”

And while the Congress members didn’t make any purchases during their time at his shop, he is satisfied with the outcome.

“The pledge may not have everything in it that I would like, but at least it’s a good step in the right direction,” he said.

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