Carly Fiorina

In this file photo, California Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina spoke to supporters on election night in 2010. Fiorina spoke in Rapid City on Wednesday.

Carly Fiorina credits good old American ingenuity for helping her transform from temporary office secretary who typed 87 words per minute to chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard, one of the world's largest technology companies in the world. 

For Fiorina, a nationally known conservative, the success of our nation depends on getting people back to work at the local level where she started. 

"It is Main Street entrepreneurs, small-business owners and innovators that have built this economy," Fiorina said to about 70 people who watched her speak at the Holiday Inn Rushmore Plaza in Rapid City on Tuesday. 

"They create two-thirds of new jobs in this country; they employ half the people and they innovate," she said. 

The former head of Hewlett-Packard and 2010 Senate candidate from California has been crisscrossing the nation educating and motivating citizens for her new super PAC and the American Conservative Union Foundation. Her speech was called "Post-election strategy: Where do conservatives go from here?"

She's also been talking with constituents from key electoral states about the future for the Republican Party. 

Unlocking America's potential was a theme of her speech, as was diminishing big government and big bureaucracies that she said hurt small businesses. 

The growing American government is destroying more businesses than they are helping to create, because of big legislation and the bureaucratic red-tape it creates, Fiorina said.

Legislation like the Affordable Care Act and the newly introduced bill to the U.S. legislature called the Innovation Act are stagnating America's success by bringing unjust hardships upon small businesses, she said. 

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"The only people that can deal with big government are big businesses, so the bigger governments get the bigger businesses have to get to deal with it and they crowd out who? The little guy," Fiorina said.

"They're the innovator, the entrepreneur, the small business owner, and the person who cannot afford the teams of accountants and lawyer and lobbyists to figure it all out," she said.  

Voters need to pay more attention to the needs of small businesses, and the individual entrepreneurs, who are the "economic engine of growth" in America, Fiorina said. 

While the Republican Party won big in the mid-term elections, including in South Dakota, time is running out to find a strong conservative candidate for the 2016 presidential election, Fiorina said. 

Many major media outlets, like the Washington Post and National Journal, have hinted at the possibility of Fiorina running as a candidate in 2016. Fiorina, however, is still considering the opportunity. 

"It's something I have to consider, because it comes up a lot, and it's very flattering of people to ask, but when you're asked something over and over again, you have to consider it," Fiorina said. "At the right time, I'll consider it." 

Fiorina lost her U.S. Senate bid to incumbent Democrat Barbra Boxer in 2010 by a margin of 52 to 42 percent.

Alongside revitalizing small businesses, Fiorina said America's future prosperity requires that changes be made to common core education, adding a work requirement for welfare, and continuing support for free markets. 

But it's also important to have great leaders who can both inspire and reanimate America's economy, she said. 

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Contact Jackson Bolstad at 394-8419 or jackson.bolstad@rapidcityjournal.com

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