Congressman John Rose wanted to send a message to some of the larger federal regulatory agencies with one of his first co-sponsored bills: don’t forget the businesspeople in smaller rural towns.
Rose (R-TN), whose 6th District includes Sumner County, saw his Rural Small Business Bill approved by the House of Representatives with 413 votes last month. It requires agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission to consider the impact of its rulings and policies on rural businesses. It also gives those businesses the same access to information provided by the agencies.
“Those are modest things but I am just trying to make sure that rural small businesses get the same attention that more urban small businesses or entrepreneurs get,” Rose said in a recent interview. “The impact I think to the typical business will be modest. What I think the bill is saying to the SEC and other government agencies is that if they are tasked with providing capital creation and other information to small businesses then they should make sure those services are available in rural areas.”
Rose is a former Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture and owns a farm in Cookeville. His district includes all or part of 19 counties, 11 of which are designated as rural by the federal Office of Rural Health Policy.
“One of the interesting statistics I saw here recently and it is startlingly overwhelmingly is that the vast majority of business startups happen in about three or four zip codes around the country, places that you mostly would expect like New York and San Francisco and the Silicon Valley area,” Rose said. “So, we just need to make sure that our rural small businesses are not forgotten because that is where most job creation happens across the country.
“It is great to have big companies come in and have lots of jobs but the truth is it is the (small businesses) that create the jobs as they grow so we need to make sure that our federal agencies are not overlooking those businesses and providing services to them.”
Rose also said that the legislation could affect the general policy guidelines of small business loans as well.
Rose said that he is careful not to overlook the booming suburban counties in the district. The five largest cities in the 6th District are Hendersonville, Cookeville, Gallatin, Lebanon and Mt. Juliet.
“If you look at congressional districts around the country, (the 6th) is a pretty compact and straightforward district,” Rose said. It does present some challenges because we have the suburban counties, Wilson being one of them, Sumner and Robertson and a little piece of Cheatham that are experiencing different development than the rest of the district so that gives you two different mindsets.
“But it is a conservative district, right of center all the way across. and while there are certainly people who live in the western end of the district dealing with a different set of challenges than some of the eastern, more rural counties, there is a lot of shared concern. People all across the district are worried about the future of the country, they are worried about safety and security in their communities, worried about education, worried about jobs and the economy.”
One of Rose’s two district offices is in Gallatin (the other in Cookeville). Rose said that his chief of staff, former Rep. Van Hilleary, is moving to the Hendersonville area later this year to be closer to that office when he visits the district. Hilleary will still divide his time between Rose’s offices in Washington and Gallatin.
“That is all intentional,” Rose said. “We want to make sure that we are providing the services to the people in the district and that we are easily reached and accessible.”
Rose, a member of the Financial Services Committee, said one of the next pieces of legislation in which he plans to be heavily involved will be as a co-sponsor for the Token Taxonomy Act which will address issues around cryptocurrency.
“The legislation will be how cryptocurrency relates to the regulatory framework and how you move money around on the internet,” Rose said. “There are a lot of concerns, and legitimate concerns, around maintaining the government’s ability to police nefarious actors on the internet and we certainly don't want our financial systems to become vulnerable to being used for illegal purposes.
“On the other hand, we don't want to put our head in the sand and ignore the way we do commerce because of the way the internet is changing.”
With Congress in its annual August recess, Rose has two trips planned: one to the Middle East and one to the Wilson County Fair.
“I am going with a Congressional delegation to Israel the first week of August at the request of (House Minority Leader) Kevin McCarthy,” Rose said. “We plan to visit Gaza and the West Bank and some Palestinian enclaves.”
Rose is the chairman of the Tennessee State Fair Association board of directors. The association produces the annual Tennessee State Fair in Nashville.
“Absolutely I plan to attend the Wilson County Fair,” Rose said. “Wilson County has one of the great county fairs in all of the United States. I am a great advocate for our fairs and I think they do great things and the Wilson County Fair is obviously the crown jewel of fairs in Tennessee.”