Sam Blair

2015 Sam BlairSam Blair is the Alliance’s Director of Strategic Partnerships. He directed the Main Street Alliance small business network from 2008-2013, working with small business leaders in states across the country to bring their voices to debates on health care, immigration reform, responsible fiscal policies, and workplace benefits. Sam started organizing as an intern with the Alliance in 2002, and then moved to Idaho and joined the staff of Alliance affiliate Idaho Community Action Network from 2003-2006, working on health care access, utility rates/deregulation, and immigration campaigns. Sam is a graduate of Swarthmore College and lives in New Hampshire.


Learning in the Streets

Building strength in numbers. Developing grassroots leaders. Raising independent money. Mapping power relationships. These are some of the key ingredients that go into building powerful community organizations that can win transformative change – which is why they’re core elements of the Alliance’s flagship Four-Day Organizer Training. Our training team has been leading the Four-Day program […]

From Grape Boycott to Great Buy-cott: Colorado Groups Bring New Spin to Old Idea in Campaign for Immigration Reform

The grape boycotts organized by the United Farm Workers in the late 1960s were part of a groundbreaking strategy to engage consumers in the fight for fair treatment for immigrant farmworkers. Fast forward to 2013, and groups in Colorado campaigning for economy-boosting immigration reform with a path to citizenship are putting a new spin on […]

Small Business Owners Support Immigration Reform with Roadmap to Citizenship

Small business owners across the country are weighing in on the immigration debate. Their message: small businesses support immigration reform with a roadmap to citizenship. At May Day rallies tomorrow, around the country, small business leaders will be addressing the crowds; speaking up for comprehensive immigration reform. It seems a good moment to remind ourselves […]


Tax Havens for Big Business? Small Business Owners Say ‘Not so fast’

Multi-Partisan small business owners spoke out earlier this month, further distinguishing their interests from those of Big Business. Wednesday, in his post “Has the Budget Crisis Du Jour Got You Down?” Bill Daley pointed out that if Congress were to close one tax loophole on offshore accounts, it could be enough to create a ‘job […]

Does the U.S. Chamber of Commerce speak for small business? Maine small business owner says: “No!”

Melanie Collins, a small business owner and leader with the Maine Small Business Coalition, traveled to Washington, DC on October 19 to speak at a press conference outside the headquarters of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Her message was simple: “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce doesn’t speak for small business, and it doesn’t speak for […]

Maine Small Business Owners Challenge Political Intervention by U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Members of the Maine Small Business Coalition are challenging the political intervention of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce after it announced a $400,000 attack ad in the race for the open Senate seat in Maine left by the retirement of Olympia Snowe at the end of this year. The 3,400-strong MSBC had a clear message […]

Small Business Owners Say Big Corporations Not Paying Fair Share of Taxes

A new nationwide poll of small business owners’ views on taxes includes some findings that turn K Street lobbyists’ anti-tax talking points on their head. In particular, the poll found that small business owners are up in arms about corporate tax loopholes, offshore tax havens, and corporations and millionaires who don’t pay their fair share. […]

Small Businesses Unite Against Citizens United Decision

Two years ago on January 21, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its ruling in the controversial Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case. In a divided 5-4 decision, the majority ruled that corporations are free to spend unlimited sums of money in our country’s elections. There’s been plenty of debate about what this ruling […]

MT Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Corporate Spending in State Elections

Something amazing happened in Montana on December 30. The State Supreme Court ruled on whether Montana has to throw out its century-old ban on corporate spending in Montana elections in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling. What did the state court decide? Well, to summarize in two words: […]

Small Business Owners Aren’t Buying Anti-Regulatory Hype

Over the past two weeks, the House of Representatives has been inundated with an alphabet soup of anti-regulatory legislation. Last week, the House debated and voted on the RAA (Regulatory Accountability Act) and RFIA (Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act), and this week on the REINS Act (Regulations in Need of Scrutiny from the Executive Act).   

Small Businesses to Supercommittee: Invest in the 99% Economy

With the deadline for an agreement from the Congressional Supercommittee less than a week away, small business owners in the Main Street Alliance network are calling on Congress to support policies that bolster the 99 percent and reject any budget-cutting deal that destroys more jobs and further weakens their customer base. From New York City […]

Small Business Owners Bring Main Street Voices to Washington, DC

On October 20, an all-star team of small business leaders from across the Main Street Alliance network made the trek to Washington, DC to represent the voice of Main Street small businesses in the nation’s capital. Business owners came from Montana, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Washington to participate in meetings on Capitol Hill. […]

Small Businesses Oppose Mandatory E-Verify as Job-Killer

Ahead of a scheduled mark-up of H.R. 2885, a proposal that would mandate the use of the controversial E-Verify employment verification system by every employer in the country, small business owner David Borris, owner of Hel’s Kitchen Catering in Northbrook, IL spoke at a press event outside the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on September 14 […]

Association Health Plans: Good or Bad for Small Business?

Changes are finally coming to states’ health insurance marketplaces. For small businesses, these changes can’t come soon enough. New rules prohibiting discrimination and strengthening oversight of rate increases will protect small businesses from rate shocks. A guaranteed essential benefits package will provide assurance of a minimum level of coverage. And new state insurance exchanges will […]

$75 Million: For the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, A Small Price to Pay for an Election

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been all over the airwaves recently–and not just with its hefty ad buys targeting candidates in the fast approaching November elections. Last week, the Chamber earned a wave of critical press when the story broke that it was funneling donations from international corporations and overseas affiliates into the same […]

Main Street Alliance member Jim Houser with President Obama

Small Business Owners Use Their Stories to Educate Public on Health Care Reform

September 23 was an important day for health care–and an important day for small businesses. Exactly six months after the enactment of the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA), September 23 was the date on which a range of new insurance protections took effect. Across the country, small business owners from The Main Street […]


Main Street Alliance Leaders Plant Flag for Small Business Values in Washington, D.C.

In late July, small business owners from all across the country – from Maine to Montana, Louisiana to North Dakota – left their homes and their businesses on a mission: to carry a message about small business values direct from their Main Streets back home all the way to Washington, D.C. It was the “America’s […]