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A Leadership Trend Worth Continuing A look into how successful entrepreneurs have become disruptors in the political sphere, enacting real change at a state-wide level

By Randy Garn Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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States all over the country are electing businessmen and entrepreneurs to the office of governor. This trend is bringing about drastic change, is stimulating economic growth, and has been a catalyst for major problem solving. Governors from outside the political system are offering leadership on some of today's toughest issues. Hiring a political outsider as the chief executive of a state often brings about an effort to get government out of the way and encourages a new way of thinking. The hiring of this outsider entrepreneur provides an understanding of the economy through real-world experience.

Businessmen and entrepreneurs from outside the political system are free to be bold and pursue big visions because they are politically unencumbered and are not politically entangled, they don't owe anyone any special favors and they don't pick winners and losers. There are outsider governors all over the country who are leading their states to new heights.

Related: 4 Things Employees Want From Leaders During Uncertain Times

Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona, the former CEO of Cold Stone Creamery, has increased economic activity and opportunity for Arizonans by making Arizona one of the most business-friendly states in the nation. He has slashed regulations on small businesses and has led efforts to enact licensing reform. Onerous licensing laws prevent people from flourishing. Governor Ducey has made it a point to repeal and reform these bad laws. It's now easier than ever to start a business or become certified in Arizona.

Governor (now Senator) Rick Scott was a businessman who transformed Florida into a job-creating machine. When first elected, Governor Scott promised that Florida's economy would see an increase of 700,000 jobs under his watch. During Scott's tenure as governor, Florida employers created nearly 1.5 million jobs, and the state's employment grew 20.3 percent, compared to 12.5 percent growth for the U.S. as a whole. Governor Scott made it his priority to create a tax-friendly environment for businesses. He had spent his career in the private sector and understands the way the economy works and how jobs are really created. Jobs are created by getting the government out of the way. Government does not create jobs, and entrepreneurs are fully aware of this!

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Governor Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma has a background in financial services. He went from CEO of his company to CEO of his state. In his first years in office, Governor Stitt has increased funding for education, giving teachers a raise, without raising taxes. As a businessman, he understands budgets and knows how to prioritize funding to the areas where it matters most. Stitt also signed a bill establishing the Oklahoma Legislative Office of Fiscal Transparency. This office provides audits and evaluations of state budgets. Transparency in government is needed. It's important to know where and how our tax dollars are being spent. He has focused his efforts on criminal justice reform as well; making recently enacted changes to sentencing laws retroactive, cutting down the time people are spending in prison. Once again, we see an outsider thinking differently and seeing things through a new lens to tackle some of today's toughest problems.

Utah is coming up on its gubernatorial election in 2020. This will be the first open governor's seat since 2004. Will Utah follow the national trend that is producing results by hiring a political outsider with real-world business experience? One of Utah's leading entrepreneurs, Jeff Burningham, has entered the race with decades of experience building Utah's economy. Having never run for office, he has a bold vision for what Utah can become. He's an innovative outsider with a smart plan to manage Utah's growth, modernize government, reform education, gain access to Utah's public lands, and keep the economy revving. Jeff has built a business that has created more than 4,000 jobs in Utah.

Related: 8 Tips for Running a Startup Like a True Leader

The private sector is on the verge of making self-driving cars a reality but the government still makes us stand in line for hours just to renew a driver's license. Politicians largely operate within the status quo; they are enablers of the systems that made them. But entrepreneurs drive and embrace progress; they are disruptors who make bigger things possible. States that elect disruptors to positions where they can enact bold new changes and innovations are seeing tremendous results. Government should serve its constituents in better ways. There are issues around taxes, infrastructure, air quality, traffic, housing affordability, education, government spending, healthcare, and the economy that must be addressed. This country needs entrepreneurs with big ideas and solid work ethic at the helm to lead, teach, inspire and create real change.

Randy Garn

Investor / Entrepreneur

Randy Garn is a passionate entrepreneur, speaker, and New York Times best-selling author. He has mastered the art of customer acquisition, marketing, sales and how it relates to overall lifetime customer experience for many top experts, CEOs and influencers today. 

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