Embed America: Small businesses are big issue this election
Jannet Walsh, 48, sits at her grandfather's desk, from which she's launching her own small business.
July 31st, 2012
12:04 PM ET

Embed America: Small businesses are big issue this election

By Lisa Desjardins and Emma Lacey-Bordeaux, CNN

Murdock, Minnesota (CNN) - Jannet Walsh is not waiting for the presidential candidates to encourage more jobs. Instead, the unemployed Minnesotan is trying to create one on her own.

[1:52] "I think it was February, after I don't know how many (job) rejections," the 48-year-old told CNN Radio, the frustration still clear in her voice, "I actually remember sitting here kind of yelling, 'This is it! This is enough!'"

That moment, Walsh decided to create her own business, a one-woman photography and media company based in her family's century-old home. With that decision, the energetic former newspaper photographer took a gamble that is central to the debates over the economy and the White House.

Small businesses generated 65% of the new jobs in America over the past 17 years, according to the Small Business Administration.

And such firms, defined as having fewer than 500 workers, employ half of all workers in the private sector.

Both President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have spoken about the importance of small businesses and their commitment to supporting them. But Walsh already understands the bigger issue: how to make sure a nascent business survives.

[6:07] "Right now, I'm not making much money," Walsh sighed, her laptop perched on the antique writer's desk that used to belong to her grandfather, "but I think once more people know who I am and actually see me out more, I think that could change."

Better off than four years ago?

Read Jannet Walsh's iReport

You can check out all our Embed America coverage here. And track the team's progress on our Embed America map.

OPINION: The right way and the wrong way to protest Chick-fil-A
Customers line up at a Chick-fil-A food truck that was targeted by about two dozen protesters last week in Washington.
July 31st, 2012
11:53 AM ET

OPINION: The right way and the wrong way to protest Chick-fil-A

(CNN) – CNN Contributor LZ Granderson says he was a Chick-fil-A fan until he heard of its stance on gay rights, but the Constitution doesn't allow mayors to ban Chick-fil-A simply based on the company's president's views. Granderson thinks he has a better and legal way to protest.

[0:57] "The last thing anyone, liberal or conservative, should want is local government censoring what a private citizen can say by way of withholding permits and licenses."

[3:06] "This is what the forefathers had in mind when they composed the Constitution: liberals making out during lunch and conservatives stuffing their face with chicken in the name of Jesus. God I love this country."

What do you think about this issue? Join the conversation and add your comments below.

Read more of LZ Granderson's columns at CNN Opinion.