The volume of phone messages and texts received during the political season can be overwhelming for many Americans, but when Sharon Madison received a call from the Joe Biden campaign to be a moderator for a July 29 virtual event with other local entrepreneurs, as well as national voting rights activist Stacey Abrams, Madison was more than happy to accept. And in the days following the online roundtable, Madison—who has led Detroit-based Madison Madison International since 1989—was still happy to talk about Biden’s candidacy.
“I can only speak for myself, but Joe Biden is the candidate I support and he is the candidate that I encourage others to support,” said Madison, the third generation in her family to lead architecture, engineering, construction management and real estate development in 21 states, Africa and in the West Indies. “In this very critical election, Joe Biden is addressing the issues and he has shown a strong, clear vision for leadership.”
The virtual roundtable event Madison moderated also included Adrienne Bennett, president and CEO of Detroit-based plumbing contractor, Benkari; Shahida Mausi, president of the Right Productions Inc., operator of the Aretha Franklin Amphitheatre; and Leslie Vargas, whose family owns the E & L Super Mercado market in southwest Detroit. Of particular interest to the participants is Biden’s proposed investments in small businesses owned by people of color, which were articulated by Abrams. Biden has pledged to address racial inequalities, as they apply to entrepreneurship, by steering federal funds along with tax credits to minority-owned businesses that have been traditionally deprived access to such programs. Biden’s plan to address racial inequality also includes making housing more affordable for families of color.
On the eve of primary elections in Michigan, and with an eye toward November’s presidential election, Madison said she encourages voters to take time to learn more about all of the plans outlined by Biden as part of his “Build Back Better” agenda. She also said that Biden’s choice of surrogates, including Abrams, gives credence that his plans will become reality if elected in November.
“What a lot of people are not aware of is that Stacey Abrams was an entrepreneur, so she understands about not having access to capital as a minority business owner,” said Madison, owner of the Julian Madison Building (named after her father) in downtown Detroit. “And she took that experience from running for governor (in Georgia)—regardless of the outcome—to do something that was needed by educating voters. That type of energy is what we all need to have and Biden surrogates like Stacey Abrams and Valerie Jarrett (former senior advisor to President Obama) are people we can trust and believe.”