Busy Creighton fields invites, opens NASDAQ

OPENING NASDAQ. Canton Mayor Janet Weir Creighton (center) opens the NASDAQ stock market Wednesday morning. Creighton joined Hector V. Barreto (second from right), administrator of the federal Small Business Administration, and delegates from other states at the market’s opening.

NEW YORK — If there is one thing Janet Weir Creighton can do, it’s cheer.

And cheer she did, as she joined delegates from other states and Hector V. Barreto, administrator of the federal Small Business Administration, to open the NASDAQ stock market on Wednesday morning. The event was televised live.

The Canton mayor, who seems to be getting a lot of attention around the Republican convention, was invited to the opening by the Republican National Committee. Later in the day, she had to choose between meeting U.S. Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans at Madison Square Garden or taking a dinner cruise aboard Steve Forbes’ yacht The Highlander at the same time.

She and a few other Ohio delegates took the cruise, where they dined with former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, former U.S. Rep. Jack Kemp of New York, the governors of Texas and Georgia and delegates of those states. Ohio Gov. Bob Taft made a brief appearance before the cruise began, but had another appointment.

Creighton said she has yet to figure out how she gets invited to these various affairs.

NASDAQ’s electronic MarketSite occupies a prominent glass storefront on Broadway in Times Square just a couple of blocks from the Ohio delegation hotel. Creighton joined a handful of delegates, most of whom were small business owners, from Iowa, Michigan, New Mexico, Colorado, Washington, Florida and New York. Creighton was the only public official, except for her traveling partner, Fairfield County auditor Barbara Curtiss, who accompanied her.

They were given instructions about where to stand and when to cheer as a digital clock on a 47-by-16-foot wall of 96 multimedia screens counted down to the 9:30 a.m. opening. Overhead, tiny broadcast studios housing Bloomberg TV, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, Reuters, CBS and TV Tokyo focused on the opening market numbers flashing across the screens.

In an interview with Copley Newspapers before the opening, Barreto promoted the small business agenda of President George W. Bush. It includes lowering taxes, health insurance costs and regulation for small businesses.

“Ninety-nine percent of all businesses in Ohio are small businesses,” he said. “The big companies are not creating the jobs of the future. Small business is the engine that fuels the economy.”

Barreto said his agency will increase the number of loans it offers this year by 30 percent so that businesses can make equipment purchases and other capital investments.

“Canton is a great area to create opportunity for new small businesses,” he said.

You can reach Copley Columbus Bureau chief Paul E. Kostyu at (614) 222-8901 or e-mail: