Maria Contreras-Sweet is the new head of the Small Business Administration
Vice President Joe Biden swore in Maria Contreras-Sweet as the new head of the Small Business Administration. Maria, a first-generation immigrant born in Guadalajara, Mexico, most recently served as the California Secretary of Business, Transportation and Housing.
Mrs. Contreras-Sweet is the second Hispanic in the President's second-term cabinet, and the third Latina ever to hold a Cabinet position, Fox News Latino reported.
President Obama, who stopped by the ceremony to offer his congratulations, told the Associated Press that "Maria understands that small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy" and "knows first-hand the challenges that small businesses go through."
Contreras-Sweet expressed that she has always been mindful of her immigrant roots, and that her story is proof that the American Dream lives on. She didn't learn English until she was an adolescent, and she raised her siblings while her mother worked in a chicken packaging plant to provide for the family.
In 2006, Contreras-Sweet founded ProAmérica Bank with the goal of aiding Latino businesses. She previously served in the private sector as Vice President for Public Affairs at Seven Up and co-founded Fortius Holdings.
In her address to the public, Maria Contreras-Sweet ensured that small businesses will have the seat at the table they deserve. She plans to change SBA lending policy to "reflect the diversity of America" and grant more small business loans to minority business owners. Half of the country's workforce is currently employed by a small business, and she believes the key to economic recovery is investing wisely in "America's Main Street." She also plans to make it easier for community banks and micro lenders to partner with the Small Business Administration, and increase their lending power.
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