Costco cofounder Jim Sinegal supports, hosts President Obama
July 24, 2012
By Warren Kagarise
NEW — 11 a.m. July 24, 2012
Costco cofounder and former CEO Jim Sinegal endorsed President Barack Obama for re-election Monday and defended the president’s economic policies, less than 24 hours before Sinegal hosts Obama at a campaign fundraiser.
Sinegal and cofounder Jeffrey Brotman launched Costco in 1983. Sinegal stepped down as CEO in January and handed the reins to Craig Jelinek.
Costco relocated corporate headquarters to Issaquah in the mid-1990s. The company is the largest employer in the city, encompassing about 2,700 people in corporate offices and at the flagship warehouse in Pickering Place.
Sinegal’s support for Obama’s economic policies comes as presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney attacked Obama for the phrase, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
Romney used the out-of-context remark to portray Obama as denigrating the success of small business owners.
“You might be seeing some ads or hearing some folks say that President Obama doesn’t support small business owners,” Sinegal wrote in a blog post on the Obama campaign website and in a mass email to Obama supporters. “But he understands that small businesses grow and prosper because of individual initiative — because entrepreneurs like you and me do the hard work it takes, and that we can’t do it alone.”
Sinegal turned to Costco’s roots to expound on Obama’s statement.
“My own story is proof — I come from a very humble background, and I truly believe that I couldn’t have succeeded in any other place but America,” Sinegal continued. “I got a good, affordable education from a state university. I had the chance to pitch my business plan to investors, and they heard and supported me. Thanks to a strong nationwide transportation system and infrastructure, we’ve opened warehouses across the country and around the world.”
Obama is due to attend a $35,800-per-person campaign fundraiser and, later, a $5,000-per-plate dinner at Sinegal’s Hunts Point home on Tuesday night. Proceeds go to the Obama Victory Fund, a joint effort between the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee.