CEOs in Office

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Anyone you spoke to last week was either elated or outright angry about the outcome of the election. Every presidential election year is charged with emotion and opinions, but this year seemed to highlight more than ever how divided our nation is on the political front. When I read The Atlantic's December 2004 article, "Executive Assistance", however, I began to feel a small glimmer of hope that people on either side of the divide could find common ground, and it seemed to be coming in the form of businessmen.

Alexandra Starr's article discusses how businessmen are "bridging the gap" between red and blue by running for office on the basic tenets that they bring fiscal responsibility and managerial expertise to positions that are often cast as lacking in those areas. Governor-elect Brian Schweitzer (D-Mont.) won in a traditionally "red" state, campaigning as an entrepreneur who "vowed to challenge every state expense" and stating his openness to listening to ideas, even from political opponents. New Hampshire Governor Craig Benson's (R-N.H.) re-election bid was disrupted by businessman John Lynch (D-N.H.). While Benson was a CEO prior to his governorship, his campaign focused on his track record during his past term in office. Lynch's campaign focused on his leadership skills as president and CEO of furniture manufacturer Knoll Inc.--and he won the race.

Many other CEOs with no prior political experience hold state offices, and their appeal to voters is broadening. Do you think more business leaders should join the fray? Are they more qualified than career politicians to hold public office? Let us know here or cast your vote by taking our poll.

Last updated: Nov 8, 2004




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