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Niskayuna woman named state head of national business group – The Daily Gazette

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Niskayuna resident Ashley Ranslow was named New York State director of the National Federation of Independent Business. Ranslow previously served as New York’s Assistant State Director for the NFIB, holding the position since 2018.

Ranslow was elevated to the position after her predecessor, Greg Biryla, became regional director in the organization’s state government relations department.

“Ashley has been ready for this position since day one,” Biryla said. “She is prepared to be the voice, face, and force for small businesses in the entirety of the state, and especially the Capitol. I’ve never seen anyone speak to small business owners with the kindness and compassion Ashley displays.”

“She then turns that kindness and compassion to tenacity and determination at the state Capitol,” Biryla added. “Ashley has developed great relationships across the aisle with both Republicans and Democrats. She will continue to use those relationships to fight and secure the needs of small business owners across the state.”

Ranslow begins the new position on Jan. 1 and will advocate on behalf of approximately 11,000 small businesses across the state.

She said she learned a lot under Biryla. “Together we tackled issues regarding how to get small businesses involved in the legislative process, making sure that we are electing lawmakers who support our proposals and conveying to state government the importance of this issue. I will be forever grateful,” said Ranslow

In her position as assistant state director, Ranslow worked at the state Capitol lobbying for the group’s initiatives. Though her position has changed, Ranslow asserts that her priorities have not.

“A change in title does not change my focus. As the assistant state director, I managed state-level grassroots efforts and worked with other members, fostering their engagement in regards to different issues. In my new position, my work focuses on lobbying and the greater political aspects. I will also be more involved in communication and media, projecting our message to the public. My passions have not changed and I will continue to valiantly fight on behalf of small and independent businesses,” said Ranslow. 

Ranslow has made it her immediate goal to aid businesses in recovering from the pandemic. Independent businesses have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic across the United States. A project named the Economic Tracker has found that there were approximately 38% fewer small businesses open in June 2021, in comparison to months before the pandemic began, in January 2020. The Harvard University-based platform analyzes data on real-time economic trends to provide accurate statistics at a national level.

“Labor shortages, supply chain interruption, and inflation are just a few of the issues small businesses currently face due to the global pandemic. Working to eliminate these issues is among my first priorities,” Ranslow said. “At a state level, we must find a resolution in regard to the unemployment insurance trust fund. Unemployment insurance is a huge focus, and we are working to lower unemployment insurance taxes that are crushing small businesses.”

Ranslow’s long-term target has been the same since she accepted the Assistant State Director position – succeed in obtaining small business tax cuts. With an increase in the New York State budget, Ranslow finds her initiative gaining steam. 

“The NFIB has been pushing for independent business tax cuts for a considerable amount of time. New York state lowered corporate and manufacturer tax rates, but small businesses did not receive the same relief. In previous years, it was stated that there was not enough revenue in the state budget to accommodate this initiative. The state now has the financial capital to facilitate our proposal, so we are heavily pushing for this in Albany,” said Ranslow

Ranslow has always possessed a passion for public policy and advocacy. Before joining the Federation she worked at the Northeastern Retail Lumber Association as the manager of government affairs. In this position, she managed day-to-day legislative and advocacy initiatives while monitoring public policy out of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.

“I’m not surprised that Ashley was promoted. She is smart, articulate, she’s an effective grassroots organizer and has always been a strong advocate for independent businesses,” said Rita Ferris, president of the Northeast Retail Lumber Association. “NFIB has selected a great leader.”

“My time at the NRLA was very helpful in developing my craft. It was here that I first got started working with independent businesses, learning the intricacies of the field. Seeing the challenges businesses face within the world firsthand, pushed me to go further in my efforts. The NFIB provided me with an opportunity to educate and inform owners on the governmental side of policy. Making sure small businesses have the necessary resources for success and stabilizing their economy has been my aim since,” said Ranslow

Local economic development is a priority for Ranslow. 

“I think small businesses are the fabric of our communities. From your hardware stores to your barber shops, these businesses are important economically and invaluable to our towns,” she added. 

“Every $1 you spend at a small business, 70 cents is recirculated in the local economy. Money stays local not only in what you spend, but then capital goes to business owners who pay their employees. These employees then use this same money to pay state and property taxes, growing our economy. Everything starts with local businesses, and they contribute to a much bigger picture,” said Ranslow. 

Ranslow has been a resident of Niskayuna for the past 11 years. When she isn’t fighting on behalf of others, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Ted, and their son, William.

“These are our neighbors and our relatives. Your everyday average American putting it all on the line to pursue a dream. Our goal is important from a quality of life perspective,” Ranslow said. “We want people on Main Street, not empty storefronts and shuttered doors.”

 

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