Partnering for progress


U.S. Representative Shri Thanedar’s perspective on the steps necessary to build better businesses

Like Many AAHOA Members, Congressman Shri Thanedar (MI-13) made his way to the United States in search of new opportunities and a new life. Arriving at age 24 from India, he immediately set forth establishing himself and creating a brighter future for himself and his family back home.

“I came here looking for economic opportunities,” he said. “I got an education – a Ph.D. – and I started a small business that grew to about 500 employees.”

Today, this self-starting businessman and author is a member of the United States House of Representatives, from Michigan’s 13th district, a living embodiment of the power of the American Dream.

The fifth-ever Indian American Congressman – and the first from Michigan – Rep. Thanedar’s experiences of immigrating to America and working diligently to become a well-educated and highly successful business owner have given him a perspective that aligns well with AAHOA. Accordingly, he has used his platform to advocate for many causes close to the heart of the hotelier.

U.S. Representative Shri Thanedar, Ph.D. (MI-13)

“I’m a serial entrepreneur and understand the struggles many businesses have in terms of making payroll and getting capital for purchases for expansion of their businesses,” he said.

Through that experience, coupled with his relationship with AAHOA, Rep. Thanedar announced the introduction of the Loans in Our Neighborhoods (LIONS) Act, a bill designed to amend the Small Business Act by increasing the maximum gross loan amount for section 7(a) loans, from $5M to $10M, which would provide greater financial support to small businesses.

“By introducing the LIONS Act, we’re taking a significant step to bolster the resources available to the small business community in Michigan and across the country,” he said. “This act is about ensuring that the financial needs of small businesses are adequately met, allowing them to continue driving our economy and creating jobs.”

This legislation is being referred to the appropriate House Committee. The road ahead is certainly long, but Rep. Thanedar feels this is the first of many necessary steps to help hoteliers obtain access to capital, thus allowing them to operate and thrive in a challenging economy.

“It’s important we grow our economy and create American jobs by helping those who want to start the businesses by eliminating the red tape and make it easier for people to access federal contracting and small business loans,” he said.

A related area of Rep. Thanedar’s focus is on helping small-business owners adequately fill job openings. Throughout his life as an entrepreneur and now as a U.S. Congressman, Rep. Thanedar has traveled extensively and talked to many fellow business owners across many industries and has found similar concerns regarding an ongoing absence of much-needed workers in industries like hospitality.

“I consistently hear a lot of concerns about access to employment,” he said. “For example, many immigrants are having trouble getting their visas or green cards because of current limits at the federal level.”

As a result, he said, businesses that depend on an immigrant workforce are inadequately staffed and likely will remain so until legislation is passed that can help reopen the pipeline for foreign-born workers to come to the United States.

“In addition to working on amending SBA loan amounts,” he said, “I’m also working on fixing our broken immigration system – making more H-1 visas available and making the green card process much quicker so families don’t have the stress of long periods of delay in getting their green cards. That way, employers can get a skilled workforce and immigrants can immediately begin working toward making a better life.”

Also, in tandem with AAHOA’s goals to actively engage in establishing relationships with legislators and being increasingly involved in helping drive legislation critical for successful hotel operations, Rep. Thanedar is a staunch advocate for AAHOA Members getting increasingly involved in the legislative process.

In establishing and nurturing those relationships, while presenting a united front, he said, AAHOA Members ultimately can achieve better bargaining power with the brands, better insurance rates, increased transparency from the brands on financials, greater freedom to shop around for supplies, and contracts that are more fair for franchisees.

After all, he said, the goal isn’t just to aim for financial prosperity; these relationships between legislator and business owners will help lift communities and ensure America remains a beacon of innovation and success.

“For these and so many other reasons, it’s vital you participate in the political process,” Rep. Thanedar said. “Ultimately, it’s in your best interests to be familiar with the issues our nation faces and ensure you interact regularly with your members of Congress. Talk with them and tell them about the important issues you face. Let’s all work together to make this country a better place and continue to create jobs in America.”

Earlier this year, Congressman Shri Thanedar (MI-13) introduced H.R. 7242, the Loans in Our Neighborhoods (LIONS) Act, which would increase the maximum loan amount for the Small Business Administration (SBA) 7(a) program from $5 million to $10 million. AAHOA knows how important this increase would be for our industry, and we need your help to let Congress know.

Write to your Member of Congress to garner support for this legislation and ask them to cosponsor H.R. 7242. Your voice can help move this legislation forward.

Contact Your U.S. Representative and Senators!


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