L.A. Area Chamber and Statewide Business Leaders Urge Senate to Confirm Contreras-Sweet's Appointment to Head U.S. Small Business Administration

February 11, 2014

LOS ANGELES, CA — The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and the Regional Economic Association Leaders (R.E.A.L) Coalition – made up of statewide business leaders – urge Senate to confirm the appointment of noted California business leader, Maria Contreras-Sweet to lead the U.S. Small Business Administration.

“Ms. Contreras-Sweet cares deeply about small business and understands the link between small employers and our overall economic success,” stated L.A. Area Chamber President & CEO, Gary Toebben, “Amidst all of her impactful work, she has also actively contributed to the prosperity of Los Angeles businesses by serving on the L.A. Area Chamber Board of Directors and Executive Committee for more than a decade. During that time she has held leadership positions in our Small Business Council and Global Initiatives & International Trade Council.”

Ms. Contreras-Sweet is the founding chairwoman of PROAMERICA BANK, the first Latino-owned business bank in California in over 35 years, which serves small to mid-sized businesses with a focus on the Latino business community. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Spirit of California from the California State Legislature and Entrepreneur of the Year from the U.S. Hispanic Congressional Caucus. Contreras-Sweet was also a member of California Gov. Gray Davis' Cabinet where she served as the secretary of the California Department of Business, Transportation and Housing Agency from 1999 to 2003 — she oversaw a department of 40,000 employees that operated on a $12-billion budget.

If confirmed by the Senate, Contreras-Sweet, 58, would fill the last position on Obama's second-term Cabinet. According to the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, California has 3.4 million small businesses that account for 99 percent of the state's employers and employ 52 percent of the workforce.

### The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of business in L.A. County. Founded in 1888, the Chamber promotes a prosperous economy and quality of life in the Los Angeles region. For more information, visit www.lachamber.com.

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