Small businesses mount massive push for net neutrality ahead of Senate vote

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Crowdfunded billboard highlights the concerns of small business owners and calls on Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) to support the CRA to restore net neutrality.

It’s national Small Business Week, and business owners across the country are calling on lawmakers to support a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to restore net neutrality.

Nearly 6,000 businesses, ranging from construction companies to chiropractors to tech startups, have signed on to the open letter at BusinessesForNetNeutrality.com. Today, small business owners and net neutrality supporters hand delivered the letter to congressional offices across the country.

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Business owners and net neutrality supporters in New Orleans preparing to deliver the open letter to Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) asking him to support the CRA.

Net neutrality supporters also crowdfunded billboards and full page newspaper ads in key states highlighting the concerns of small business owners. Recent polls show that the majority of business owners are concerned that the repeal of net neutrality rules will harm their business. They’re planning a massive Red Alert for Net Neutrality online push beginning May 9.

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Crowdfunded billboard near Cleveland, OH highlights the concerns of nearly 6,000 businesses that signed the open letter and calls on Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) to support the CRA to restore net neutrality.
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Net neutrality supporters crowdfunded a full page newspaper ad in the Juneau Empire asking Senator Lisa Murkowski to listen to Alaska small businesses and support the CRA.

The nearly 6,000 businesses that signed the letter represent nearly every industry including veterinary offices, graphic design shops, restaurants, medical startups, music venues, attorneys, tutoring services, chiropractors, engineering firms, and an amusement park machine supplier.

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Small business owner delivers the open letter to Rep Andy Barr in Kentucky
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The nationwide push was upported by a range of groups representing startups and small businesses including the American Sustainable Business Council, Etsy, Patreon, Engine Advocacy, Main Street Alliance, Good Business Colorado, and Small Business Majority, along with groups like Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, and Color of Change.

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A staffer for Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) accepts the letter from local small business owners, who thanked the Senator for supporting the CRA and encouraged her to call on her Senate GOP colleagues to do the same.

“The loss of net neutrality will hurt all small businesses, not just high tech ones like those I work with,” said Chris Reade President and CEO of Lookfar in New Orleans, LA, “Without these basic protections, businesses that put food on the table for hard working Americans won’t be able to compete with big corporate giants.”

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Net neutrality supporters and small business owners gathered outside Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) office in Portland to thank her for supporting the CRA to restore net neutrality.

“My small business has been able to grow in part because of net neutrality. Strong rules have ensured people can find me and shop my online store,” said Mickki Langston, owner of Tellicherry Trading Company, maker of skincare products in Denver, CO. “Small businesses like mine will be hit the hardest if Internet service providers decide to charge us new fees to reach customers. Everyone in Washington says they support small businesses. I want them to show us that they support small businesses by supporting the CRA.”

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Crowdfunded billboard near Denver, CO highlights the open letter signed by nearly 6,000 small businesses and calls on Senator Cory Gardner to support the CRA to restore net neutrality.

“Our small Alaska-based technology business depends on affordable access to an open, neutral Internet to deliver training, software updates and data to customers around the state,“ said Julie Olsen, President of OfficeTECH, Inc. in Anchorage, AK. “We need lawmakers to just say “NO” to deep pocketed ISPs plans for fast lanes online and, instead, vote to protect Alaskan businesses and their employees by supporting the CRA resolution to overturn the FCC’s repeal and put strong net neutrality protections back in place.

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Net neutrality supporters and small business owners gathered outside Senator Rubio’s office in Tampa, FL preparing to deliver the open letter calling on him to support the CRA.

“When senators vote on the resolution to restore net neutrality this month, they’ll face a stark choice. They can use their power to back the ability of monopolistic telecoms to block and slow traffic online for their own profit, in a manner that will strangle small businesses. Or they can stand with Main Street and the small companies that are the lifeblood of their communities.” said David Segal, Executive Director of Demand Progress.“Net neutrality is about free expression — but it’s also about people’s bottom lines, their jobs, and their abilities to provide for their families. Without an open internet that allows them to compete and to reach customers online, small businesses will fold. Any senator who votes against the net neutrality CRA resolution is voting against the small businesses in their communities.”

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A concerned high school student in Orlando, FL took her lunch hour to deliver the open letter to Rep Stephanie Murphy, asking her to support the CRA to restore net neutrality.

“Almost everyone who works at Fight for the Future has run a small business at one time in our lives, and we’ve connected with thousands of them through the massive online protests we’ve organized,” said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, who helped coordinate the letter, “without net neutrality, the largest companies will become even more dominant, while family-owned businesses, innovative startups, small shops, and freelancers will be squeezed out. It’s a tax on the entire economy for the benefit of a few giant telecom companies.”

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Small business owners and net neutrality supporters in Charleston, SC preparing to deliver the open letter to Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) calling on him to support the CRA to restore net neutrality.

Here are some more images from today:

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Small business owners and net neutrality supporters delivered a letter signed by nearly 6,000 businesses to Senator Rob Portman calling on him to support the net neutrality CRA
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Small business owners and net neutrality supporters in Charleston, SC preparing to deliver the open letter to Senator Jeff Flake calling on him to support the CRA to restore net neutrality.
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Small business owners and net neutrality supporters in Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) about to deliver the open letter and thank her for supporting the CRA.
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Net neutrality supporters and small business owners delivered the open letter to Senator Hatch’s office in Salt Lake City, UT calling on him to support the CRA.
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Crowdfunded billboard highlighting concerns of small businesses in Colorado for Senator Gardner.
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A staffer for Senator Flake (R-AZ) accepts the open letter signed by nearly 6,000 small businesses calling on lawmakers to support the CRA.
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Big crowd at Senator Dean Heller’s office in Las Vegas NV to deliver an open letter signed by nearly 6,000 businesses calling on lawmakers to support the CRA to restore net neutrality.

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