Business Leaders for Democracy

Issue One’s Business Leaders for Democracy (BLD) brings together new voices and unique perspectives to advocate for solutions to fix our democracy and amplify a simple message: bad government is bad for business.

Meet our Founding Business Leaders

What do Issue One’s Business Leaders support?

Issue One’s Business Leaders brings together current and former CEOs, small business leaders and entrepreneurs from across the political spectrum who are committed to restoring trust and accountability in our democratic institutions.

Informed by their business acumen, the Business Leaders have joined Issue One’s ReFormers Caucus, made up of former Senators, Representatives, Governors, Cabinet Secretaries and Ambassadors, in advocating for the following solutions:

  • Disclosure & Transparency. Real-time disclosure of all political contributions and expenditures.
  • Effective Enforcement. Hold candidates, legislators and organizations accountable if they break the law.
  • Ethics & Lobbying. Sever the connection between lobbying and campaign contributions and reduce conflicts of interest.
  • Participation. Support innovative experiments at the state and local level that improve civic participation and amplify the voices of small donors.
  • Integrity & Accountability. Push for a government responsive to citizens and constituents.

See the full framework for Returning Government to the American People here.

Issue One’s Framework for Returning Government to the American People

What are the issues?

The problem is well-known and easily stated: Bad government is bad for business. When the integrity of our democratic institutions suffers, the business landscape is skewed and inefficiencies abound. As a landmark Harvard Business School study concluded, “dysfunction in America’s political system is now the most important single problem facing America” and “any effort to address U.S. competitiveness, then, must confront and solve the problems in our political system.”

The current system:

  • Creates an unlevel playing field
  • Changes the nature of competition between businesses
  • Disadvantages small business
  • Diverts investments from core business costs
  • Slows innovation
  • Distracts political leaders from focusing on important policy issues (ex: economic growth)

If you are interested in becoming a member of the Business Leaders for Democracy, let us know.

More about the Business Leaders for Democracy founding members

BERKLEY BEDELL Berkley Bedell is one of Iowa’s most successful entrepreneurs and innovators. At age 16, Bedell founded Berkley Fly Co., a fish tackling business. Over the next 70 years, Berkley Fly Co. expanded and acquired related companies, employed hundreds of workers, and was the largest company in the U.S. fish tackling industry when it was sold in 2007 for $400 million. Bedell received the National Small Businessman of the Year Award from President Johnson in 1964, becoming the inaugural recipient. Along with Bedell’s business background, he served in the United States Army as a first lieutenant from 1942-1945. Additionally, he served in Congress for twelve years during the 70s and 80s, chairing the Small Business Subcommittee and the Department Operations, Research and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee.

AMORY “AMO” HOUGHTON JR. Amo Houghton is the former CEO of Corning Glass Works (now Corning Incorporated) and a former Republican U.S. Representative from New York. After joining Corning as an accountant in 1951, he worked his way up through the company, serving as president, board chairman, and CEO before retiring in 1986. That same year, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he held office until 2005. While in Congress, Houghton was the sixth-ranking Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee and founded the Republican Main Street Partnership, a coalition of over 70 members of Congress dedicated to effective governance. Throughout his career, he has also served on the Board of Directors of IBM, Citigroup, Procter & Gamble and Genentech.

SUE MYRICK Sue Myrick is a Strategic Policy Advisor for the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America, the largest footwear association in the United States. For over a decade, Myrick ran a successful advertising and public relations firm in North Carolina. In 1987, Myrick won election as mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina where she served two terms – the first and only female mayor in Charlotte history. Myrick was then successfully elected to Congress in 1994 where she served until 2013. During her time in Congress, Representative Myrick served as Freshman Class Liaison, Deputy Majority Whip and chair of the largest voting bloc in Congress, the Republican Study Committee. She served on the Rules Committee, the Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Intelligence Committee.

ARTHUR ROCK Arthur Rock is an American businessman and investor based out of Silicon Valley, California. In addition to his role as an early Apple backer, he was one of the first venture capitalists to invest in what would become Silicon Valley, as he helped launch Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel. He has sat on the board of — and been an early investor in — several companies and firms since the 1960s including Intel, Apple Computers, Xerox, Argonaut Insurance, Echelon Corp., NASDAQ Stock Market Inc., Teledyne Inc. and Vodafone Americas Inc. He also served as a trustee of the Visiting Committee of the Harvard Business School, the California Institute of Technology, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the San Francisco Opera. Rock has been inducted into the Junior Achievement Hall of Fame, the California Business Hall of Fame and the Bay Area Business Council Hall of Fame.

KEVIN RYAN Kevin Ryan is best known for leading DoubleClick, first as President and then as CEO from 1996 to 2005. He built the interactive ad giant from a twenty-person start-up to a multi-billion-dollar global industry leader that was ultimately acquired by Google in March of 2008 for $3.1 billion. Ryan is the Founder and CEO of AlleyCorp, an incubator of technology and Internet companies based in New York’s Silicon Valley. Ryan originally launched Gilt Groupe, MongoDB and Business Insider, which are all now affiliated with AlleyCorp. He began his career working for the media company E.W. Scripps, which owned the rights to Dilbert as well as many other comic strips. Currently, Ryan serves on the boards of Human Rights Watch, Yale University, the NYC Investment Fund, INSEAD and the Council on Foreign Relations.