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Remarks at the Swearing-In Ceremony for Maria Contreras-Sweet as Administrator of the Small Business Administration

April 07, 2014

All right, everybody, please have a seat.

I just wanted to stop by and congratulate Maria on officially being sworn in as the head of the SBA.

I want to thank the Members of Congress who are here today, as well as the terrific staff at the SBA for helping America's small businesses succeed, and who have been holding down the fort until we got this confirmation through.

I nominated Maria because she knows first hand the challenges that small businesses go through, and she has a proven track record of helping them succeed. She was California's secretary of business, transportation, and housing, and in that role she was the driving force behind major public investments in job-creating industries. As the founder of the ProAmérica Bank, she supported Latino entrepreneurs throughout Los Angeles.

So Maria understands that small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy. They represent the promise that if you work hard in this country, you can succeed, and you can help your children do even better.

And that's why this administration has been so focused on helping small businesses succeed from day one. We cut taxes 18 times for small businesses in my first term. We've helped more than 200,000 small businesses get loans supported by the SBA. Today, our economy is growing and our businesses have created almost 9 million new jobs, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that there are small businesses out there who are making things happen every single day.

But we can always do more. And that's why having such a hard charger as Maria, who knows both the entrepreneurial side as well as public service, is so important. When I announced her nomination back in January, I was absolutely confident that she was going to do a terrific job. And I am no less confident today.

I understand, she already had meetings this morning. She didn't really wait for the ceremony—[laughter]—to start meeting with some of our veterans and women-owned businesses and Latino- and African American-owned businesses. And she's going to be out there, I know, listening to small businesses, working with our other agencies that are in charge of helping businesses grow. And I'm confident that by the end of her tenure she's really going to have made her mark and made a difference. And of course, she also has a really beautiful family, which is good too.

So with that, Biden is in charge of the next stage of this thing. [Laughter] And he always does a great job. And it's not that many lines—[laughter]—so hopefully, we'll get them right. We had a few problems my first time out, but second time went smoothly. So—[laughter]. And Joe has done this a lot. [Laughter]

So congratulations again, Maria. Thank you.

[At this point, the President left the stage. Vice President Joe Biden delivered brief remarks and then administered the oath of office. Administrator Contreras-Sweet then delivered brief remarks.]

NOTE: The President spoke at 3:35 p.m. in the South Court Auditorium of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building. The transcript released by the Office of the Press Secretary also included the remarks of Vice President Biden and Administrator Contreras-Sweet.

Barack Obama, Remarks at the Swearing-In Ceremony for Maria Contreras-Sweet as Administrator of the Small Business Administration Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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