East Lyme First Selectman Paul Formica's campaign for the 2nd District Congressional seat held by Rep. Joe Courtney got a big boost today. He has been endorsed by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), a leading small business advocacy group.
"I am very proud to announce the NFIB's endorsement," said Andrew Markowski, state director of the Connecticut chapter of NFIB at a press conference held earlier today at Flanders Fish Market and Restaurant in East Lyme, which Formica owns and operates.
"It's fitting that we're here today," said Markowski. "This place represents everything Paul [Formica] stands for. Paul truly exemplifies the spirit of entrepreneurship."
Formica and his late wife Donna first opened the restaurant on Flanders Road in East Lyme in 1983 in an old house that once belonged to a ship's captain. After spending considerable time and money renovating the place, Formica recalled that on opening night they had just one case of fish and no money to put in the cash register to make change.
Somehow they made it work using Donna's tips from waitressing the night before, which amounted to about $40.
Formica said he knows what it takes to get a small business off the ground and what it means to the economy when it succeeds. His employees are single moms, retirees, and college students who work as hard as he does every day to help the business flourish.
"Small business is a way of life. Small business is the engine for this economy," Formica said. "Families have been cutting budgets and making the hard decisions. It's time Washington does the same."
Markowski said his organization ranks elected officials on how much they achieve for small business each year based on agenda items that NFIB considers to be a priority. Officials are ranked from 0 to 100 based on their voting record on small business issues. He said that Rep. Joe Courtney scored just 26 percent this year.
"We need a candidate who understands small business," Markowski said.
“Paul Formica knows the issues that concern small business owners because he spent his life in the private sector, building a business and dealing with all of the obstacles to success created by the federal government,” said Lisa Goeas, NFIB Vice President of Political and Grassroots in a press release issued by NFIB today.
“His positions on the issues are perfectly in sync with Connecticut small businesses and he’ll make an excellent member of Congress.”