Hardware Retailing

OCT 2016

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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Hardware Retailing (HR): How did you get involved in politics and why? Jared Littmann (JL): As long ago as high school and college, I've been interested in politics. I have been involved in campaigns and found the policy perspectives interesting. While politics involves fundraising and campaigning, I've been more interested in the public side, like legislation. I went to college for an environmental engineering degree and later I went to law school, with a focus on environmental law. After practicing law for a few years, I got into retail by getting into my in-laws' hardware business. When a position opened for a city alderman, I applied and, thanks to my legal experience and business experience, I was selected as alderman for Ward 5 in the city of Annapolis. I ran for election after that one-year term was served and won a four-year term. I have about 16 months left of this term. I have decided to not run again. HR: Why do you think independent business owners should get involved in politics? JL: First off, there is no doubt that getting involved in local government is time-consuming. And since business is also time-consuming, not everyone has the time to put into it. Running the business should remain a top priority, as well as family. However, if you decide you do have the time, I have zero doubt local politics has a great impact on the community. Local politics affects the local economy, affects the general feelings of the community and more. If you care about your community and feel you have something to offer to help it thrive, getting involved politically is a wonderful opportunity. HR: What do business owners uniquely contribute to government? JL: First and foremost, business owners generally have a better understanding of management and budgeting. Retailers have experience in payroll expenses, managing taxes and the different requirements for safety. Plus, by having business experience, you have a greater appreciation for how hard it is to generate revenue and maintain a happy population. HR: What skills from running an independent business make you well suited for government? JL: One of the skills that I bring is critical thinking. Being comfortable with numbers, accounting and budgeting is also important. Plus, being able to communicate effectively in person, through email and during city council meetings is a very important skill I bring. HR: How do you recommend getting started in local government if retailers want to be advocates for business in their communities? JL: I think there are so many different ways to get started. There are two paths I would highlight. One would be local political parties. You don't necessarily need to decide. You could attend events from Republican, Democrat, Green and others to determine who you best associate with. The other track is to figure out the issues you care about, like education and environmental issues. Get involved in the issues that matter to you. Meet with government officials and talk to people in government roles to share your concerns and issues. 62 HARDWARE RETAILING | October 2016 Jared Littmann, owner of K&B True Value in Annapolis, Maryland, has spent the past five years in his current role as a city council member, which is also called an alderman. Littmann talks about his position, how his passions helped drive his political goals and more. In 2013, Jared Littmann is sworn in as an alderman in Annapolis.

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