Stand up for Alabama small business owners rebuilding after COVID

Every day I am proud of the professional logging company that I started here in Choctaw County after I returned from the military in 2001. The company provides jobs for the local people and has empowered my wife and me to raise five daughters.

But since COVID hit, every day seems to bring more challenges.

Before COVID-19, business was booming. Grice Logging and Trucking had a turnover of over $ 1 million in 2019, and as a result of that success, I began to grow my business by purchasing expensive, but essential, equipment to extract the logs from the forest and put them in the trucks.

It cost me dearly and I was going to have to pay, but things were going so well that I was sure I could get them back. Then the pandemic struck.

As people got sick and the economy shut down, my business slowed down dramatically. I had to downsize from 15 employees to 8. I am thankful that my family and my employees survived the pandemic in good physical health, but business has not yet rebounded and I am worried about my financial future. .

The last year made me realize that if I wanted to change things for the better for myself and for my family and neighbors, many of whom are struggling to return to work, I needed to get more involved in politics. I recently joined an organization called WorkMoney, which brings together hard-working Americans from across the country and from all walks of life to push for legislation that puts our families first.

A few weeks ago, I was able to speak to Representative Terri Sewell’s office to share my experiences as a local business owner and to urge her to support legislation that will help my neighbors and I get back on track. foot.

I have always been a doer. I served my country for six years in the United States Marine Corps. I was in Afghanistan for 18 months, where I was injured in a convoy. It took me a little over two years to recover from gunshot wounds to my abdomen and leg. They were painful years, but I would return to the Marine Corps at any time if my country needed me.

These years in the military have taught me a number of things. They taught me to be a man, to be responsible for my actions, to be disciplined and to be a leader. Since I finished training camp, I have been leading others. All of this taught me how to be a successful businessman and a citizen of the United States.

As someone who has voted twice for President Donald Trump, I want Rep. Sewell to know that I am supporting the rebuilding of infrastructure and industries in our country with well-paying jobs, regardless of which party proposes it.

I do not see this as a political question, but as a practical one. We need more people to work in Alabama and Choctaw County. If more Americans have more money in their pockets, there is more demand for the construction of houses, tissue paper, notepads, pencils, cardboard boxes and all the things for which they use logs.

We also need more support for families. The only thing that gives me more pride than my business is my five wonderful daughters; but food, clothing, school supplies, college savings and everything the kids need really add up. In my own experience, these things are even harder to cover when your business is slowing down or you don’t have a job. The permanent expansion of the child tax credit would make a huge difference for families of all sizes.

When I hear that politicians in Washington want to play political games with the legislation that we urgently need right now to get our economy going, I know that would be a big mistake. It’s time for Washington to listen to the people who work hard every day and try to keep America going.

This nation was founded on hard work, sweat and tears. Here on the ground in Alabama, I can see what we need: good jobs, support for children and families, and more opportunities to work and build a safe and stable life. It’s time for Washington to work with us to grow the economy and help bring my business and other businesses back to life. It will help us all achieve the bright future we deserve.

Richard Grice, a Marine Corps veteran, business owner and father of five from Choctaw County whose logging was hit hard during the pandemic.

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