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): Why did you get involved in politics? Jeff Cardwell (JC): In 1976, I started in the hardware business and building material busi- ness. The store owner at that time was heavily involved in the political cycle. He encouraged me to get involved. My grandfather had held political office, which influenced my interest in politics. My boss at the time was the reassurance that I needed to get more involved. They would always say, "Politics matter." Everything is political, whether it's church, family or politics. Politics is a part of everyday life. It was a time America needed change and a time that people felt that the American dream had died. Iran held our hostages. Unemployment and interest rates were at an all-time high. There were a lot of tensions. The most important part of it is that you have an opportunity to make a difference. You can make your voice be heard on a platform when people are listening. And the time people are listening is during election cycles. Ronald Reagan led on national security and economic growth—issues that were of concern to me as a young person. I watched him get elected. I saw him take action, and soon I saw really good results. We saw interest rates and unemployment fall. Iran released our hostages. I thought my voice mattered. I felt that I made a difference. In the private sector, the free markets work best when government does its job of providing public safety and infrastructure. We are the economic engine that provides the government with the resources it needs for infrastructure and public safety. It's our tax dollars and economic growth that fund local government and schools. HR: Why do you think independent business owners should get involved in politics? JC: A lot of times, the small businessperson wears many hats. They're able to have a really 66 HARDWARE RETAILING | October 2016 Jeff Cardwell, owner of Cardwell Do it Best Home Center in Indianapolis, is the current state chairman of the Indiana Republican Party. He began his political career in 1980 as a volunteer for the Ronald Reagan campaign. On behalf of the Indiana Republican Party, Jeff Cardwell nominates Donald Trump for president in July at the Republican National Convention.

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