Live from Music Row, Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed CEO Alfredo Ortiz of Job Creators Network to the newsmaker line to talk about his rise from poverty, the values his parents instilled, and how the American dream is attainable for minorities despite the Democrat narrative.
Leahy: On the newsmaker line right now, our very good friend, the CEO of the Job Creator Network, Mr. Alfredo Ortiz. Welcome, Alfredo.
Ortiz: Hey, good morning, Michael. Thank you so much for having me. It’s an honor.
Leahy: It’s great to have you on. You wrote a book. Not exactly what’s going to get you on MSNBC. The title of the book is The Real Race Revolutionaries: How Minority Entrepreneurship Can Overcome America’s Racial and Economic Divides. You’ve got a personal story about your parents and how they came to America. I think that is a good starting point on this.
Ortiz: Yes, absolutely. I don’t necessarily think I’m going to be on this year’s White House Christmas list for some reason. But look, I push back on a narrative that long has been true from the left, which is basically that we need more government intervention, really, to try to break the racial and economic divide.
But I know firsthand that entrepreneurialism and capitalism really is the way to go. And if you think about the inflow of immigrants, there is no outflow of immigrants from the U.S. to other parts of the country.
It’s always inflow because they know best that this country is a land of opportunity where the American dream is possible so far if the government just gets out of the way and lowers taxes and lowers regulations.
But as I said, I know firsthand what it was like I grew up in Chula Vista, California. We were quite poor. My dad was a tailor. My mom was a housekeeper. I remember on trash days, my mom and I would pop into pop into our car, and we’d drive around and we’d get aluminum cans and newspapers and those trash cans, and we’d take it over the YMCA, cash it in, and that was her grocery money for the week.
And then to make ends meet, she would also do craft sales and bake sales. That’s why I always say that she was the first and best entrepreneur that I ever knew.
Leahy: Your parents came from Mexico City a little over 50 years ago. They’re no longer with us, but they had some values that they shared with you. Tell us about those values.
Ortiz: Yes, absolutely. The values really are hard work and the idea that, frankly, you can do anything if you have a vision and you have a belief and you have a dream. You can work hard and get there. And that was one thing that I remember.
There was a time when the USDA would hand out surplus eggs, bread, milk, and cheese to lower-income folks and our church was actually a distribution point, Michael. And we were the ones that would help receive the truck. We would set it all up, and only at the very end would we collect ours.
Because my mom always believed that if you’re an able-bodied individual, even though you might not be able to have an income, to have a life you necessarily want, and you do need some government help that you can work for that and you can contribute to society in some way, shape, or form.
Leahy: Tell us about your personal career. You grew up poor in Chula Vista, California. Your parents were legal immigrants from Mexico. How did you get into and become an entrepreneur?
Ortiz: Wow, it was quite a path. First of all, truly, I have to give credit where credit is due and thank God for the wonderful path that he laid in front of me. But of course, my mother and all of her hard work and sacrifices. But I was the first one to finish high school, the first one to finish college and grad school.
And again, those were educators that believed in me, and that helped me along the way. But then I went into the corporate world, and I worked mostly in consumer product goods, marketing, market research, finance, and consulting.
I have my own consulting firm, which was in Atlanta, and I sold that to a former Coca-Cola executive. And then I also have my own construction company in Atlanta. I had two small businesses myself, and I know exactly what it is, like I say, to sign the front of a check and the back of a check.
Leahy: In the spring of last year, you testified in the House of Representatives and the Ways and Means Committee, and you argued that minorities can in fact, overcome racial economic gaps through entrepreneurship.
The Democrats didn’t like that message. Stacey Plaskett from the U.S. Virgin Islands, a delegate there, tell us what she said about your testimony.
Ortiz: (Chuckles) Yes, it wasn’t received well at all by the Democrat members who said they were troubled by the rhetoric and claimed I was inappropriate and ignorant to actually argue that minorities can overcome their circumstances through entrepreneurship even though I was sitting right in front of them.
Leahy: So hold on. You’re a minority. You’re Hispanic.
Leahy: And so you overcame poverty through entrepreneurship. How do the Democrats call that inappropriate?
Ortiz: Inappropriate and ignorant. Please don’t forget that word ignorant.
Leahy: Look, there are a lot of words I could use to describe you, Alfredo. Ignorant is not one of them. Oh, man.
Ortiz: Michael, I tell you, I was pretty peeved, I have to tell you. And I pushed back. I asked for an apology, which I didn’t get because she claimed that she wasn’t talking about me oh, no. Even though I was the sole Republican witness at that hearing. I’m like, who else are you talking about?
So it was pretty interesting. But I was glad I pushed that back, because this is, I think, a narrative that we really have to have to keep pushing back on. It’s not just kind of a belief that I have. I got to read this piece of data.
I have a lot of data points in the book, which hopefully people go to Amazon and it’s available on Kindle and paperback. But we dug up a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation study that found that the median net worth for black business owners is 12 times higher than for black non-business owners.
In other words, black entrepreneurs more than eliminate racial income and wealth gaps, earning and saving far more than median white households. Interesting fact? Don’t you think?
Leahy: It is. Has CNN invited you on to talk about this yet?
Ortiz: No, they have not. And I have a funny feeling that they’re probably not because again, this is a narrative that they do not want to be put out there because again, they want that sense of victimhood and that reparations for the racial divide is the only way out and more government.
And so obviously this is counter to all that because this talks about entrepreneurialism capitalism, hard work, the American dream look, everything that they actually detest, we really embrace in this book. And so it’s a great read, I think, and I encourage people to go pick it up.
Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Alfredo Ortiz” by Alfredo Ortiz. Photo “The Real Race Revolutionaries” by Amazon. Background Photo “Small Business” by ELEVATE.
Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Job Creators Network’s CEO Alfred Ortiz to the newsmakers line to talk about their cheeky billboard that calls out Major League Baseball Commissioner Manfred on pulling All-Star Game from Atlanta.
Leahy: On the newsmaker line our very good friend, the CEO of Job Creators Network, Alfredo Ortiz. Good morning, Alfredo.
Ortiz: Good morning Michael. How are you?
Leahy: Well, it’s great to finally interview you on the radio. We’ve been on a lot of projects together and worked together. And I must say, my hat is off to you my friend because you are the man behind what I’m going to say now is perhaps one of the most iconic Times Square billboards in history. And tell us what the billboard says and tell us what the reaction has been.
Ortiz: Yeah, well, you know, as you know in the news, there’s been a lot of conversation about the pullout from the All-Star Game out of Atlanta and the Commissioner Manfred. Manfred being the guy who made that decision. And so we’ve been trying to make a statement about that because in Atlanta it cost $100 million for mainly minority small business owners. So the billboard we just put up went up first thing Monday morning, basically says Commissioner Manford, all strikes, no balls? (Leahy laughs)
Leahy: Wait just a minute, just a minute. So you’ve got a picture of Rob Manfred, the commissioner of Major League Baseball, who, by the way, from what I can tell he is a Harvard Law School grad attorney. I don’t think he’s ever played baseball in his life. I think he made this politically correct just out of a knee-jerk reaction to pressure from left-wing groups. I don’t think I even looked at the Georgia election law, the common-sense election law.
Leahy: But just to be clear, you’ve got this is so funny. I don’t know how you came up with this Alfredo. It’s just pure genius. (Ortiz chuckles) So there’s a picture of Rob Manfred, and it says, wait for it…All strikes and no balls?
Ortiz: Michael, I don’t even understand. It just like a baseball term, isn’t it? But in all seriousness, I think it’s so appropriate because of the way we see it, right? First of all, we call them the way we see them. And strike one, first of all, is he gave in to the whole misinformation and all the lives of this woke crowd about the Georgia voting law. As you said, I doubt he even read the darn thing.
Strike two, he moved the MLB game out of Atlanta on that false information. And then the third strike against him, he cost the state of Georgia again, mostly minorities small business owners. Estimates are over $100 million in lost revenue for again, primarily minority-owned small businesses. And for what? To move it to Denver, of all places, probably one of the most white suburban areas that you can find, right? You’ve got Atlanta that is like minority to nine percent Denver.
You’ve got nine times as many Black-owned small businesses in Atlanta then there are in Denver. Yet he decides to make the move to Denver out of Atlanta. And so what are we doing? We’re basically saying, look, Commissioner, do the right thing, move it back. You hurt minority small business owners. And with the same speed at which you pulled it out of Atlanta, you can put it back in.
Leahy: Has he sent you a response to that request yet Alfredo?
Ortiz: You know, oddly enough, he hasn’t called me for lunch yet. And I’m not quite sure why Michael. (Leahy chuckles) I’m still trying to decide that. But just in case he missed the billboard, we’re going to go for a letter very soon here that’s going to be hitting his desk. And we’re going to try it again because again, there is time. He literally made that move.
Michael as you know in two days. Basically, in two days, he made that move. And so we’re saying move it back because that is the right thing to do. Forget the woke culture, the Stacey Abrams pressure, which is absolutely ridiculous and complicit in all this as well. I’ll put the Delta’s and I’ll put the Coca-Cola’s in there because they are also part of complicit in this dissemination of misinformation on the Georgia Voting Act.
And, of course, they’re taking this playbook now, Stacey Abrams and company and taking it to all different States. And basically what I’m calling it is extortion. It’s kind of the old mafia shakedown of our public companies and CEOs.
Leahy: Let’s go back to the decision to go with all strikes and no balls? (Laughter) How does that idea? I mean, it’s perfect. It’s beyond perfect Alfredo.
Ortiz: Well, you know, Michael, you probably remember that we started off kind of on using billboards. I’m an old marketing guy, and I like billboards. I know it’s an old media, but I actually think it really works. And Times Square is so powerful. Remember when AOC brilliantly decided to push Amazon out and the 25,000 jobs it was bringing to New York City? We put up a nice billboard on that, which basically says, thanks for nothing AOC.
And we started that, of course, then she got on Twitter and we responded with a billboard. So it was the famous billboard Twitter war between us. And so part of it is just we need to be public about this. I think part of the issue that Conservatives have is that they’re conservative by nature and we’re afraid to go out there and take the gloves off and just really go at it. And the left doesn’t do that.
The left just comes out, they intimidate, and they push against the wall. We’re so ginger about so many things in our conversation. I think we need to get to this point, Michael, where we just take these stances, we make it public and we go, you know what? Enough is enough. We’re going to make these comments that we’re going to say things like all strikes and no balls Manfred because that’s exactly what it is.
And so, again, we’re going to be holding people accountable we’re going to be holding public officials accountable. We’re going to be holding CEOs accountable because I think we’re at the point in this country, Michael, where people are just fed up. People are just so fed up about all this wokeism and all this other stuff, and it’s just really now hurting this country.
Look what happened in Georgia. Again minority small business owners primarily got hurt. Cobb County, Fulton County, minorities, and minority-owned small businesses. $100 million. I mean, what are they going to do? How are they going to get back $100 million? Is Coke or Delta going to write a check for that amount to cover that loss now?
Leahy: Well, that’s a very good point. Now, the billboard has been up in Times Square in New York City for a little over 48 hours. Tell us about the reaction to that billboard in the media and around the country.
Ortiz: Well, it’s gotten a lot of attention as you can imagine. People have actually made comments about my own particular. I wouldn’t even say it.
Leahy: (Laughs) I got you. We know what you mean, Alfredo. You don’t have to say it. We got it. (Ortiz laughs)
Ortiz: From this perspective. People are finally saying thank goodness. A group, an organization that finally speaks up. And Molly Hemingway picked up on this right away. She’s got, like, 600,000 Twitter followers.
Leahy: From The Federalist.
Ortiz: And I have to tell you, I mean, the response, if you look at that Twitter feed, it’s been great. I think, like, 99 percent of the people are like, yes, stand up! A few people are like, well, you know how we immature and stuff like that. Sure. Maybe if you want to call it that. But I don’t think I actually think it was very mature. We’re just calling it the way it is.
Leahy: It was just an accurate description of what kind of guy. Rob Manfred, the Commissioner of Major League Baseball is all strikes and no balls. I don’t even think you need a question mark on it. (Ortiz chuckles)
Ortiz: Here’s where he could basically redeem himself, and it would show that he actually does have a pair is moving it back to Atlanta.
Leahy: (Laughs) That’s very good, Alfredo. That’s very good. Our listing audience is cracking up as we go. And our in studio guest Andy Ogles Mayor Maury County is laughing because it’s so funny. The Job Creators Network is based in Atlanta. You basically represent the ideas and policies that support small businesses around the country. I notice CNN is also based in Atlanta. Have they paid any attention to this story?
Ortiz: Oh, are you kidding, Michael? C’mon. They wouldn’t cover this at all. As you notice, you rarely hear about the plight of small businesses. In fact, I haven’t seen a single story on CNN, and I may go back and try to find one and there may be one in the past three years. But really, the plight of small businesses is not covered at all by CNN.
It’s not covered at all by the left media by the lamestream media, as we call it, right. And that’s because they don’t want to highlight that because really small business owners are being really just crucified effectively by some of these policies that Biden has already put in place or looking in putting place. We’re actually calling it the war on small business.
Leahy: Yeah, it is.
Ortiz: If you really look at what’s happening. First of all, the COVID came out of nowhere. It hit these small businesses. Thank God though, under the Trump administration, we had a great program that was put out there that we actually got very involved in with the paycheck protection program. It saved 50 million jobs, Michael. 50 million jobs across over 5 million businesses in this country.
And when we needed to do more they just stalled it, stalled it, and stalled it. It’s a miracle that the small businesses that were able to pull out did actually pull out. Once the Biden administration came in, instead of coming up with other great programs like that. What are they doing? They’re talking about federally mandated $15 minimum wages. They’re talking about potential tax increases in three different ways.
A million small business owners that do their taxes, and our C corps. A million of those could be subject to that increase of 33 percent on that corporate tax rate. And then you have another 15 million small business owners, Michael, that are probably going to also feel the pain and the bruise if they roll back that 20 percent tax deductions that so many small business owners use to pay higher wages, hire more people, more benefits, and invest back in their businesses.
They might lose that. And then to top it all off, the third round of potential tax increases that he’s looking at is the increase on the top tax rate. So every successful small business owner that actually survives through this and kept people on the payroll is now going to have a tax increase on top of everything else.
Listen to the full broadcast here:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.