By:  Marshall Kirby, Public Policy Analyst

If you followed the news this month, the big buzz has been about the GOP gaining the majority in the House of Representatives just two years after the Democrats reinforced their majority in 2008 from their gains in 2006.  The GOP made strong gains in the Senate, tightening the party line divide.  We have a divided legislature and divided government, not to mention a new Speaker of the House.  Outside of the Federal level, Republicans made strong gains, taking control of state legislatures, and gained many seats in governor’s races.

Those are probably the headlines you have read.  What you probably haven’t read is that according to Rob Mandelbaum of the New York Times, 33 small business owners and entrepreneurs were elected to Congress.  From pizza shop owners to real estate investors and from farmers and ranchers to large scale businesses entrepreneurs, business owners are taking to Congress in a big way next year.  Not to mention, many entrepreneurs ran unsuccessful bids for election, but made their mark on the political landscape across America.

The total number of entrepreneurs in Congress is probably underestimated as those who were self-employed, ran medical and legal practices, and professional services firms (such as accountants) are typically not counted in the number of entrepreneurs in Congress.  Also not counted are those who sold or closed their business longer than five years ago.  Regardless, they too know a lot about job creation and helping their community prosper.

Let’s hope that the new Congress can put party lines aside and bring their entrepreneurial attitude and way of thinking to solving problems for Americans in this recession by bringing long-term and sustainable job growth and fostering more small business activity in communities across America.