Blanche Lincoln Champions A New Cause

by Roby Brock ( 44 views 

Former Arkansas U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln (D) is championing a new cause: independent contractors.

Lincoln, who was defeated for re-election in 2010 during a tidal wave year for Republicans, has been using her post-Senate cache to promote a number of business interests, including energy, farming, and small business efforts.

Her new gig is spokesperson for It’s My Business, a coalition of business groups concerned about legislation and regulations that could impact independent contractors.

“It’s a group of small businesses, family businesses who are independent contractors out there who are really wanting to bring a greater awareness of some of the frustrations but more importantly the possibilities of what might come in the form of regulations,” tells Talk Business Arkansas.

There are roughly 10 million Americans employed as independent contractors in the U.S.

According to the group’s web site, – member groups of the coalition include FedEx Ground, the Agribusiness Retailers Association, California Small Business Action Committee, JSS Consulting, Johnson Timber and the New Jersey Concrete & Aggregate Association.

In the Talk Business interview, Lincoln also chimed in on Sen. Mark Pryor’s re-election bid in 2014.

Many political observers consider Pryor’s race to have similarities to Lincoln’s 2010 bid, but Lincoln thinks the climate is different. For starters, she says the rapid dissemination of information through social media outlets has quickened the pace for Senators to explain their votes.

However, she thinks Pryor is in a strong position heading into next year, despite early independent expenditures against him.

“I think he’s got good chances for re-election. Mark’s a hard worker, he’s a thoughtful legislator, he’s dedicated to Arkansas, and I think he really works hard to find the middle ground and the consensus that needs to be had to be productive,” Lincoln said.

She said voters’ frustrations with Congress are due to lack of consensus-building.

“I used to always say I didn’t come to Washington to create a work of art. It was a work in progress,” she said. “Working with people to come up with something that was 85 or 90 percent of what you wanted was critically important to move things forward. Mark is that way.”

While Lincoln has been active on the business and lobbying/consulting fronts since 2010 as well as dedicating more time to her family, she’s kept a relatively low political profile. Could Lincoln find her name on the ballot again in Arkansas politics?

“As much as I would love to, I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Lincoln says with a hearty laugh.

You can listen to a mp3 version of the full Lincoln interview here.