Uncertainty was the top concern for Rudd, of Rudd Contracting, which provides plumbing, sprinkler systems and other building services, as well as his brother and two other local businessmen who sat down with U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, during an intimate roundtable discussion Wednesday at Chamblee's Rose Nursery on U.S. Highway 69.
“We don't know what the future holds with health care and taxes, and when you're running a business it makes it tough,” Rudd said. “We're like deer in the headlights. We don't know what to respond to.”
Cornyn said the level of uncertainty “depends on November,” alluding to Election Day and a possible GOP takeover in the Senate and White House.
Congressional politics have become so partisan that the only way to end the political stalemate and make changes is to secure a majority, he said.
Mark Chamblee, the nursery's owner, and businessman Sam Greenberg, of Greenberg's Smoked Turkeys, shared similar concerns about the uncertainty of the economy, regulation and U.S. policies that affect their businesses.
Greenberg said the nation's energy policy is driving food prices. There is a wealth of natural gas, and yet the U.S. produces corn to create ethanol to put in fuel tanks, which in turn drives feed prices for turkey growers.
Cornyn said the roundtable is a good way to gauge constituent concerns and take them back to Washington, D.C.
“It's always more powerful to tell a story, to put a human face on policy and problems instead of charts and statistics,” Cornyn said.
During the stop, Cornyn continued to call on Missouri Rep. Todd Akin to “do the right thing” and suspend his race for U.S. Senate because of recent comments about “legitimate rape.”
Cornyn said Akin's continued campaigning threatens a possible GOP majority in the upper chamber.
“There are bigger things at stake,” he said. “He cannot stay in the race and win, and I hope he is coming to realize that.”
Cornyn, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which aids GOP Senate candidates, acknowledged Akin's apology but said the “self-inflicted wound” was a big issue with voters and too much to overcome. He said Akin should step down as soon as possible, so a replacement candidate can run against incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill.
Akin could be taken off Missouri ballots by Sept. 25 if he agrees to step down. If he continues the race beyond that date, his name will remain on ballots.
Akin provoked political wrath after he was asked in an interview whether he opposed abortion in the case of rape.
“It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” Akin said.