The following is a transcript of a speech by Austin Ligon, Co-Founder and Former CEO of CarMax Inc. at the Democratic National Convention.
When we first started CarMax 19 years ago, we had a simple idea: make buying a used car a transparent, easy, and honest process. And today, CarMax has grown to be America's largest auto retailer, employing 17,000 people in 30 states, and it's one of Fortune's "Top 100 Companies to Work For."
We worked hard to conceive and build CarMax. But we didn't do it alone. I succeeded because we had intensely committed associates; healthy and flexible capital markets; good roads and bridges that let us move products rapidly; and federal, state, and local governments that cooperated with us and provided clear "rules of the road" that let us plan and grow our business.
As a businessman, I know President Obama understands what it takes to spark economic growth, because I have seen him in action. When he took office, he inherited a massive structural deficit from his Republican predecessor, an economy in free-fall, and, most important for me personally, an auto industry on the verge of collapse. The president's decisive action led to the rapid and successful restructuring of two of America's largest companies, GM and Chrysler.
That didn't just save the car companies—it helped prevent a domino effect that would have taken down everything in the auto industry, from the factories that manufactured auto parts to the dealers who sold the cars. He also launched targeted efforts that helped ordinary people buy cars again. Altogether, these actions prevented over a million job losses, and laid the groundwork for what's now a robust recovery of the American auto industry.
The president deserves credit for this extraordinary success. And I'm determined to see that he gets it. As a businessman who focuses on facts, not political rhetoric, I think the choice in this election is clear. President Obama has shown he has the vision to support average consumers and taxpayers. He understands that the consumer is the engine of economic growth—that businesses can't prosper and grow without them. That's why he has a plan that will reduce the deficit, invest in infrastructure and education, and give tax relief that benefits the average consumer, not millionaires.
Because that's what works. That's how we grow the economy from the middle out, not the top down. As a businessman, I'll tell you: Mitt Romney just doesn't get it. That's why I'm voting to extend Barack Obama's management contract for four more years.