Rep. Karla Drenner: Make a Difference, Buy Local

It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of after Thanksgiving, Black Friday sales followed by the ease and enticement of cyber Monday discounts. The trend of internet shopping and overnight urban camping in front of retailers entrances is perhaps an irreversible reality of today’s consumerism.

Yet, last year ABC World News with Diane Sawyer launched a series, “Made in America,” that focused on American manufacturing and our economy. The series made me think about the possible economic implications for Georgia? What if our state and local governments, along with our school systems, leveraged their purchasing power to favor Georgia and local businesses? Imagine the impact to our economy and the jobs this could create.

While there is little that we can do about the national economy we can impact our state and local economies, by simply paying attention to where we shop, what we buy and where we eat.

“Buy local” campaigns are not some new form of economic policy; it’s an awareness campaign that focuses on educating consumers about the benefits and impacts of their purchasing decisions. Buying local doesn’t mean that you can’t shop at Wal-Mart, Macy’s or REI. It just means shopping at those stores in your local community.

Becoming aware of our spending impacts our property taxes, our schools and has the ability to create jobs. With a little effort each of us can strengthen our communities and local economy.

November 24 is Small Business Day all across America, and I challenge each of you as you shop to ask yourself what products are you purchasing and whether they are Made in America or even made here in Georgia? Have you bought at least one gift from a local merchant? What about dining as part of the shopping experience? Have you eaten at a “Mom and Pop” restaurant? Have you shopped at stores in your own county?

Make a difference this holiday season and reinvest in the businesses that service your community. If every American spent $64 on something made in America, we could create 200,000 jobs right now.

Are you in?

Representative Karla Drenner represents the citizens of District 86, which includes portions of DeKalb County. She was elected into the House of Representatives in 2000, and currently serves on the Energy, Utilities & Telecommunications, Health & Human Services, Natural Resources & Environment, and Rules committees. She also serves on the Special Committee on Small Business Development and Job Creation.