The U.S. Senate has confirmed Maria Contreras-Sweet as new head of the Small Business Administration.
Contreras-Sweet was nominated by President Obama back in January (pictured above). Her confirmation hearing was held before the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship in February.
Today’s action makes it official. The SBA Twitter account was one of the first to announce the news:
The Senate voted to confirm Maria Contreras-Sweet’s nomination as SBA Administrator. Stay tuned for more info.
— SBA (@SBAgov) March 27, 2014
The nomination and voting on Contreras-Sweet was widely supported by both sides of the political aisle. The voting was done by voice, and the entire voting session was completed in roughly three minutes in the Senate this afternoon. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash), Chair of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, brought the nomination to the Senate floor saying:
“The SBA has been without an Administrator for eight months, and it’s critical that we get this position filled today. We can’t forget that small businesses create two out of three new jobs in our country…. Every single day we need to think about small businesses in our community, and how much we need to help and support them. Everything from Chobani yogurt to Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, Federal Express… have all been small businesses benefiting from the SBA program and to have somebody like Maria Contreras-Sweet to be this person is critical to us.”
Contreras-Sweet was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, and immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 5. She served as secretary of the California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency from 1999 to 2003. She founded the Latino-owned ProAmérica Bank with family and friends in Los Angeles in 2006.
Contreras-Sweet may be coming to the helm of a Small Business Administration with somewhat reduced resources. The U.S. House Small Business Committee has recommended the agency’s requested $865 million budget be trimmed by $50 million. That money comes from entrepreneurial development programs meant to encourage innovation. That budget has not been finally decided, however.