Snyder and Snyder: Career politicians are failing us when we need them most

Right now is a time when everyone needs to work together to help one another. But with jobless claims throughout the country rising, families hurting and small businesses shutting their doors or fighting tooth and nail just to stay alive, Washington is failing us.

As families and communities throughout the country continue to face the economic effects of a global pandemic, the message from our nation’s capital is that any additional relief is unlikely to come before Election Day. This is despite assurances from all sides that they are eager to negotiate a deal.

Headlines will scream about tumult in the stock market as news breaks that our nation’s leaders have given up on their negotiations. But the real story here isn’t about Wall Street – it’s about the Main Street businesses and hardworking Americans who are suffering through no fault of their own, and who are being left behind once again by the politicians elected to serve them.

Things are no better in Richmond, where dysfunction in the Virginia legislature and ineffectual leadership by our governor derailed a marathon special session that should have focused on much-needed COVID-19 relief.

Small business owners can’t take the same approach as Washington and Richmond. They can’t put off big and tough decisions because politics is getting in the way.

Virginians deserve better from their leaders. Our nation deserves better too.

Absent much-needed assistance from state and national leaders, local efforts have helped bridge the gap to keep businesses afloat. We’re seeing it in communities across the country.

When the COVID-19 crisis shuttered businesses across Virginia earlier this year, our family quickly came together with business and civic leaders from across the commonwealth to launch the Virginia 30 Day Fund.

Since early April, this nonprofit has provided millions of dollars in direct financial assistance to help save more than 750 small businesses throughout Virginia. The funding has helped businesses keep employees on payroll, make rent, protect health benefits and survive this unprecedented economic downturn.

By taking immediate action to give our small businesses the shot in the arm they needed – quickly, easily and free of red tape – the Virginia 30 Day Fund has helped small businesses save upward of 7,000 jobs.

As our mission has extended from the initial 30 days of expected stay-at-home orders to nearly seven months of economic hardship, we have spoken with hundreds of Virginia entrepreneurs who are doing every single thing in their power to save their businesses, pay their employees and make it through to better times.

In Roanoke and Southwest Virginia, we have helped dozens and dozens of small businesses, including Hollywood’s Restaurant & Bakery, a Roanoke staple for 18 years, where owner Mark Henderson requested funds to meet payroll.

At Brown Industrial Machine Repair in Pembroke, a forgivable loan from the Virginia 30 Day Fund helped Sherry Brown replace lost revenues due to the shutdowns and provided funds to simply remain open.

Darlene McGinnis, owner of the Main Street Inn in Blacksburg, plans to use the funds to pay employees and assist with operating costs given that Hokie gamedays no longer allow the tens of thousands of fans who sold out her Inn in the past.

Much more work needs to be done. We are in a final sprint to fund more than 1,000 businesses by the end of the year. So many businesses continue to feel the financial pain of this global pandemic and we want to help as many small businesses in Virginia as we can.

Philanthropic ventures like the Virginia 30 Day Fund have helped so many keep the lights on during this very difficult time. But now it’s time for our elected officials to get it together and show the same commitment to small businesses as small businesspeople have shown to their employees and communities. Let’s get the job done. Now.

The Snyders are cofounders of the nonprofit Virginia 30 Day Fund. Businesses can learn more about applying for support at