Monday, July 25 , 2016, 6:24 pm | Fair 69º

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Tom Donohue: Votes and Voices for the Future

Election Day is upon us, and the issues up for debate in the 2012 campaign have given Americans a lot to think about. An economy that isn’t growing fast enough to create the jobs our workers need. Household income that’s shrinking while gas prices rise. Deficits that continue to mount as the national debt deepens.

Through their votes, Americans have a voice in the debate over those critical issues and a choice in the direction of our country. That’s what makes voting one of the greatest rights and responsibilities of being an American citizen.

The business community also has embraced its right to make its voice heard on the issues that will shape our future. All across the country, we have spread the message that economic growth and a vibrant free enterprise system are fundamental to creating jobs, prosperity, and opportunity for all.

We have poured an unprecedented amount of time and energy into the largest voter education program in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s 100-year history. In key races for the House and Senate, we have actively supported candidates who, like us, believe that many of the solutions to our country’s problems lie with the private sector.

We have supported candidates who know that the ideas of America’s risk takers and entrepreneurs are vital to our future. And we have stood strong with those who stand up for free enterprise principles and are committed to implementing policies that will drive growth, create jobs and stabilize our economy.

We do not get involved in the presidential race. Regardless of who occupies the Oval Office, the president and the business community need to work together to help the economy grow and the country succeed.

For our final push toward Election Day, we’ve focused on the last essential ingredient — making sure that the business community and those who support and believe in American enterprise and economic freedom turn out to vote in this crucial election.

It’s easy to be cynical in this political environment. Some think that our problems are too big and our politics are too small. Some wonder whether voting is worth the bother or whether it will make a difference.

The truth is that every vote and every voice matter in this election. No one can predict with certainty which candidates will claim victory. No one knows exactly which policies will prevail. But it’s pretty simple. If you want your voice to be heard — vote. With so many close contests this year, each vote really does count.

— Tom Donohue is president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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