Freshman representative Timmy Beson, R-Bay City, focuses on helping small businesses

Beson’s Market has been around since 1911, and fourth generation businessman Timmy Beson wants to use his new role as a politician to make sure small businesses such as his thrive in Bay County.

Beson, who was elected to the State House of Representatives in November, is already introducing legislation designed to make doing business in Michigan less cumbersome.

“My agenda is the over-regulation for small businesses,” he says, and not just in the meat industry, but everywhere. “License fees, certifications and variances are just over the top.”

State Rep. Timmy Beson, R-Bay CityBeson is the first Republican elected to represent his district in over four decades, and says his mission is changing the narrative in Lansing.

Beson’s first concern is he believes the system built on threats and negativity.

“Why would you exploit the negative instead of the positive?” he asks, adding that he encourages state inspectors to work with small businesses that violate regulations rather than handing out fines or threatening to close the doors.

To accomplish that, he’s introduced a bill that allows Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) workers to issue warnings for COVID-19 violations instead of immediate shutdowns.

“MIOSHA needs to quit fining and shutting down, and work with (businesses),” he says. “MIOSHA needs to work with people.”

Beson says along with passing bills like his, holding state regulators accountable is the way to make change. He would also like to get more businesspeople involved in legislation, which he says will make a difference.

“We need to get more people in office that come out of the field,” he says.

When he’s talking to state officials in Lansing, he often asks whether they or anyone on their staff has ever held the license they’re regulating. Too often, the answer is no. Beson says though there are good people working in Lansing, there are others who’ve never done a hands-on job like his.

“I’ve made my living off making sausage,” he says, and his market employs a lot of young people. “These are the best starter jobs,” but regulations are putting people out of business. “These jobs are the building blocks that lead you to a profession.”

He says he works with a lot of young people, giving them the skills they’ll need later, like counting back change, and budgeting. “You gotta start somewhere,” he adds.
Beson says he also wants to connect young people with retirees.

“Bay County’s biggest asset is our retired population. If we can connect that to kids, we will have the best population of young people.”

Beson hopes the connections take place outside of school and help young people broaden their view of the skilled trades and technical programs. “I want to show them that using your hands you can still make a living.”

Beson says he knows a lot of the retirees, and many have nothing but time on their hands. He wants to encourage mentoring programs and to give the retirees a way to tell their stories.

“I want to take their talent and infuse it into these young people.” His thought is that through those connections, small business will benefit, as well as give young people a reason to stay here. “If we don’t do something soon, we’ll only have the online businesses and chain stores.”

For the father of three, eliminating some of the burdensome regulations and bringing back opportunities for small business is a priority. Beson wants to make sure that his own children can thrive here.

He says he’d like Michigan to start to be more efficient. “I’m not in Lansing to make new regulation, unless it’s to regulate state regulators.” He says the system is broken and he wants to fix it.

Beson says he is focused on small business and helping out people just like him, whose livelihoods are threatened by state inspectors.

“I passed House Bill 4047, which helped all the affected businesses who were shut down by the governor and DHHS (Department of Health and Human Services),” he says. The bill helped pay licenses and fees for small businesses. It also offered two quarters worth of unemployment insurance for those hardest hit by the COVID-19 shutdowns. Beson says businesses can’t pay their bills if they aren’t bringing in revenue, and he wanted to lend a hand.

Between his work in Lansing and running Beson’s Market, 3385 N. Euclid Ave., Beson has his hands full, but he says he always makes time to fit in a little more.

Over the last year when students were learning remotely, he and a few other people got together to provide meals once a week. He says during the early days of the pandemic, he learned that kids were only getting two meals a week. At one time, he delivered 155 meals in what he called “Feed the Kids.”

Beson says when he decided to run for office, his father suggested he didn’t try to run his business and his political office, but for now, he’s going to keep the market.

“I want to make Bay County have outstanding workers who are trained,” he says, and he can do that by keeping the store open for the time being.

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