A Repair Shop Owner Wants Washington to Do More to Drive Business

President Obama shakes hands with Hawthorne Auto Clinic owner Jim Houser after a backyard discussion on health-care reform in Falls Church, Va., on Sept. 22, 2010 Photograph by Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Jim Houser and his wife have owned and operated Hawthorne Auto Clinic in Portland, Ore., since 1982. From the beginning, they sought to attract top talent to their repair shop by paying employees’ health insurance premiums in full. Rapid premium hikes around 2000 motivated Houser to advocate on behalf of small employers. In recent years, he’s written op-eds, testified before both houses of Congress, and attended the 2011 State of the Union address as a guest of Michelle Obama. (The president name-checked him in the speech.)

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