Our fruited plain area of Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and Erie County ( an area of which I have a ninety year familiarity, first as a young farm boy) is noted for the excellence of small business establishments and productive farms. This is an area where people have found that there is greater strength when they plan, pull and work together!

These productive and hard working entrepreneurs in this area possess an inner drive to "believe in better!" We are fortunate to have driving , energetic, creative, first class small businesses and bountiful fruit, vegetable, and dairy farms in our geographical region. The simple truth is, these businesses and farms are so supportive to the quality of life and to the economic condition in our home town communities.

John Locke, the English philosopher said it well "Where there is no desire, there will be no industry." And Robert F. Kennedy stated "There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why...I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?" The words of Locke and Kennedy exemplify the nature of folks in our area. Small business and farm folks in America have the great desire to succeed and to be of service. They believe in uncompromising integrity and are so much a part of the backbone of America.

Small businesses and farms in the USA , such as those in our area, are dynamic and vital to the US economy. They employ over half of all private sector employees, pay 48 percent of total U.S. private payroll and hire 40 percent of high tech workers. They are crucial to the solvency of our economic system. They are there when we need them and they often go beyond the call of duty.

There are 22.9 million small business and farm operations in the United States and they are located iv virtually every neighborhood in this great Country of ours. They serve a strategic role in the dynamism of the backbone of the American economy. These enterprises, many of which are family operations, provide nearly two of every three new jobs and they produce over 40 percent of the gross national product. They are women and men brimming with creative ideas and possess aspirations of entrepreneurial possibility thinking. These individuals are willing to think outside of the box. It was General George S. Patton who said "If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."

Next time you have a chance, look over your nearby community and see uncompromising integrity at work. Take note of the fresh fruit, vegetable, and greenhouse roadside stands. Observe the hardware, local carpenter and plumber, the grocery store and the farmer. Notice the auto and small engine repair shop, banks, box stores, the electrician and the small manufacturer, the furniture dealer, the local pharmacy, the maple syrup establishment, the lumber mill and the logger. You will note also, that the local radio station and newspaper, and home operated business, professional offices, our first class educational institutions, and independent entrepreneurs are all part of the backbone that helps to make America great!

The truth is, daily you see small business personnel, farm folks, and all of society in general, working tirelessly to be the "very best" at what they do for all society. "Thank you" small business owners, agricultural personnel, and all other hard working contributing citizens. Indeed, you help to fulfill the great American dream of exceptionalism at its best! And that is how we see it FROM THIS PERSPECTIVE.