Small businesses are the center of discussions this week in Northeast Missouri.
Congressman Sam Graves is running for re-election in November. If he wins, his new district will cover most of the northern third of the state because of redistricting.
He's now making his way through northeast Missouri counties to hear concerns of area businesses. KHQA met up with him during a tour in Hannibal Wednesday.
"I'm from a little town called Tarkio, Missouri. My family and I, we farm there and have been for many generations. So I'm excited about getting the opportunity to represent the new part of the district," U.S. Rep. Sam Graves said.
Graves and his colleague, Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer, spent the day at Golden Eagle Distributing Company learning about the concerns of local small businesses.
"We're obviously a small business, so we're open to his ideas and issues, so we're just happy to meet him," Michael Riesenbeck, with Golden Eagle said.
Workers from several local businesses shared their concerns about job growth and their struggles with employee health care with both lawmakers.
"Seven out of every ten jobs are small business-related, so if the small businesses aren't moving forward, the economy isn't going to move forward," Graves said.
"I saw a statistic the other day that said 85% of small businesses will not hire from now until the end of the year. That's a horrible statistic for our country, because the real job creators in this country are small business people. Sam's expertise, in the fact that he's the chairman of the small business committee, can have a direct impact on a lot of the issues for small business; it's very important," Luetkemeyer said.
"Right now, through the Small Business Committee, I'm pushing contract reform. Right now, the federal government spends billions of dollars every year on goods and services. And I want more small businesses to be able to participate in that. One of the problems is that the government tends to bundle those contracts up to the point where they're so large that small businesses can't participate and I want to make sure the federal government quits doing that," Graves said.
Graves says his top priorities are to keep taxes low for small businesses. He also says the Environmental Protection Agency is out of control when it comes to regulating small businesses.
Graves faces two Republican challengers in the primary on August 7th.