Washington, D.C-- Obama ends speculation over the fate of the Small Business Administration, by nominating Maria Contreras-Sweet, Chief of the agency. She will be the 8th woman and 2nd Latino in Obama’s second term cabinet. The agency has been awaiting news regarding a replacement since the resignation of Karen Mills in August,.
The nomination is intended to underscore the administration’s commitment to Small and Medium Enterprises, often touted by the government as the solution to the crisis. The agency has lent over $130 million to more than 225,000 small businesses over the past five years.
Contreras-Sweet has been selected in part due to her own entrepreneurial expertise – she is co-founder of local bank ProAmérica Bank as well as of private equity firm Fortius Holdings. Her experience in government service as California Secretary of Business, Transportation and Housing (1999-2003) balances out the profile of this 58 year-old business woman.
Originally from Mexico (she immigrated when she was 5), Contreras-Sweet became the first Latina to serve on the board of the Blue Cross California and to hold a secretary position in California State Government.