Outspoken businesswoman Wendy Rosen, a Democrat running in Maryland’s first congressional district, has an extensive background in helping small businesses. As the founder of the Rosen Group, she has for the past 30 years produced the Buyers Market trade show, the nation’s largest wholesale marketplace for American handmade luxury goods.
Rosen is the publisher of Niche Magazine for retailers and American Style magazine, devoted to collectors and artists. She also founded the American Made Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and protecting American manufacturers.
Now she’s “madder than hell” and says she is determined to make a big difference for entrepreneurs, who she sees as the future for our economy. Rosen declares that her campaign for congress began with a mission to help micro-business and startups succeed, and create jobs for Marylanders.
“I’ve found that the definition on Capitol Hill of small business is not the definition you and I use every day,” says Rosen. “The Small Business Administration defines it as a business with as many as 500 to 1,000 employees. Where do jobs really come from? Startups that are less than five years old, and businesses that have less than 10 or 20 employees. That’s where 78% of all the jobs in our economy come from.”
The first hurdle for Rosen is the April 3rd Democratic primary, but she has her sights set on defeating Republican Andy Harris, the incumbent in this mostly conservative district. Rosen states that her message is resonating with small town Eastern shore residents, some living in counties with the highest unemployment rates in Maryland.
Although Wendy Rosen is a newcomer to political campaigns, she has spent considerable time on Capitol Hill during the last ten years. Several days each week she has been calling on lawmakers, pressuring them to protect small American manufacturers against copyright infringement from cheap imports, and provide government support to small business.
Another issue she has embraced is getting Congress to require government-owned national parks and museums to carry American made products. A walk through the gift shop at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History reveals Statues of Liberty made in China and American flag caps and t-shirts from Honduras, but very few domestically made products. Rosen finds this shameful, stating that many American companies produce high quality goods that should be included in a museum dedicated to our national history.
Her present campaign is laser-focused on helping local and Main Street businesses in Maryland thrive. She recalls a sad day when she herself had to lay off seven employees, and vows to get into office and make a difference for other employers so that they end up hiring instead.
Will this Democrat be successful in a historically conservative voting district? She thinks so. As a declared “recovering Republican,” Wendy Rosen has chosen a populist issue that couldn’t be more pertinent to the voters she is courting. Fighting as an underdog is a role she has prepared well for, given her background. She certainly will provide for an interesting election season.