Mitt Romney's attack ad

Jeff vonKaenel

I am the co-owner of this newspaper and two others. I am a small-business owner and a &8220;job creator.&8221; And with help from an amazing group of colleagues, I’ve been able to take a $15,000 loan from my mom and, over the last 32 years, turn it into a $6 million business.

This week, Mitt Romney attacked President Barack Obama for saying that “If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.”

Romney calls this “not just foolishness,” but insulting “to say Steve Jobs didn’t build Apple, that Henry Ford didn’t build Ford Motor [Co.] … that Bill Gates didn’t build Microsoft.”

Well, I’m not an expert on Apple, Ford or Microsoft, but I do know the News & Review. I can tell you that Jeff vonKaenel did not build the News & Review by himself. He had some help.

I’ve been blessed with wonderful colleagues whose dedication, love and incredible hard work have made our company successful. My guess is that Apple, Ford and Microsoft also had employees who were pretty critical along the way.

Public education also played an important role in my life. Special thanks to Mrs. Francis, my first-grade teacher, and Bill Zirzow, my high-school swimming coach. These were two government employees that made a huge difference to me. While Romney may have gone to private colleges, I attended the government-supported UC Santa Barbara. And I’ve been lucky to hire employees who can read and write because they attended government-financed schools.

I also appreciate our roads, airports and bridges. I’m thankful that the water is tested for safety, that we have police and fire departments, that worker safety is monitored, that we have a judicial system, and a Mosquito & Vector Control District. Without this government infrastructure, my business would struggle.

But my appreciation goes deeper. My dad was a doctor in a small town in Ohio, and later on in San Jose. Because of this, I grew up with many advantages.

My dad was accepted to college at Stanford University, but was not able to attend there because his family did not have the money. He worked as a laborer in a steel mill to help support his family after his father died. After World War II, he went to school on the government-funded GI Bill. This enabled him to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor.

As a doctor’s son, I understand that life was easier for me. So I feel an obligation to give back. I find it appalling that after being given so much, Romney used offshore and Swiss bank accounts to avoid paying his fair share of taxes. He is ungrateful to the country. Of course, he thinks he earned his success all on his own. And that is not only ridiculous, it’s also sad.

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About the Author

Jeff vonKaenel
Jeff vonKaenel is the president, CEO and majority owner of the News & Review newspapers in Sacramento, Chico and Reno.