Editor’s note: The following was submitted by Senator Kevin Daley, a Republican who represents the 31st state Senate District, which includes Bay, Lapeer and Tuscola counties.

Working hard and putting in the effort to start your own business is a textbook American dream story. Many Michiganders have successfully pursued this dream after years of hard work, breaking even, long hours, government regulations and other hoops small business owners must jump through to survive.

Despite these challenges, many Michiganders clenched their fists and ground through the tough times to make their business thrive. There are countless examples, just in my district, of people who have given everything they have to make their business successful.

Unfortunately, because of a global pandemic, many of these people have had their life’s work taken from them without so much as a chance to survive. The idea of someone else, with no stake in your future and who has put in none of the effort to get your business to where it’s at, making decisions that result in you potentially closing your doors is heartbreaking to say the least.

I cannot begin to put into words the sadness and frustration I feel for the people who had to go through the experience of locking their doors one last time because they just couldn’t meet the burdens anymore; for the employers who were forced to round up their employees, many who are like family, and tell them they won’t be coming to work tomorrow; and for the families who, right before Christmas, will see their pay taken away from them yet again.

We need to do our part to mitigate this disaster and keep our communities thriving—this starts with supporting local businesses. Local businesses have supported our schools, children’s sports teams and community events, among other things, and now it’s our turn to give back and lend them a helping hand.

“Mom and pop” businesses need our help more than ever and, especially going into the holidays and another unpredictable shut-down, they most certainly deserve it.

If you are able to, and to do so safely, I kindly ask that you join me in doing our part to keep businesses in our communities alive. For years small businesses have been there to provide excellent service and are calling on us to return the favor.

So be sure to shop at your local supermarket or order your favorite meal from the restaurant down on the corner. Our service is the difference between the cashier, waitress or hardware store owner making rent or buying Christmas presents for their children.

In the meantime, my colleagues and I in the Legislature are doing everything we can to fight back against the governor’s unilateral policies that place a significantly higher burden on restaurants and small businesses.

Michigan’s restaurants and small businesses have made countless sacrifices and invested thousands of dollars to keep employees and patrons safe. While my colleagues and I continue to fight for Michigan businesses in Lansing, we should also be putting our full support behind them right now and helping them keep their doors open.

I have made an effort to personally call and listen to each business owner who has contacted my office so I can fully understand the struggles the people in my district are facing.

If you would like to talk to me, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office at 517-373-1777 or senkdaley@senate.michigan.gov.