Gerald R. Ford photo

Remarks at the Swearing In of Mitchell P. Kobelinski as Administrator of the Small Business Administration.

February 12, 1976

Mr. Justice Stevens, Mr. Kobelinski, Mrs. Kobelinski, Secretary Kleppe, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

It is a great privilege and pleasure to see all of you here and have you participate, as I am, in the swearing in of Mitchell Kobelinski to be the Administrator of the Small Business Administration. Because of the importance of the role of the small business organizations throughout the country, the part they play in the growth, the vital economy, I greatly welcome a man of Mitchell's outstanding talent and accomplishment to head the Small Business Administration.

Many of you know, since July of 1973, Mitchell has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States. Before that, he distinguished himself in business as well as in banking in the communities in and around the city of Chicago, and now he brings his expertise and experience to this very key position in the Federal Government.

In addition, I will designate Mitch as a member of the President's Economic Policy Board, which oversees the formulation, coordination, and the implementation of all of our governmental economic policy. This Board, as I think most of you know, is the focal point for economic policy decisionmaking--both domestic and international.

The son of Polish immigrants, Mitchell Kobelinski is a fine example of the American dream come true. It is especially significant that he is being sworn in on a day when many, many Polish Americans commemorate the birth of General Kosciusko, who served the United States with such distinction during our War of Independence.

I am very pleased and delighted to see so many leaders of other ethnic communities here today to share this very, very important moment with Mitchell, his family, and the Polish-American community.

We all know that the small business sector of our economy is vital to job creation, competition, and technological innovation. In this era of bigness, our Nation absolutely needs to maintain an environment in which small businesses providing economically valuable products and services can flourish, now and in the future.

In our country today, 9,400,000 small business firms employ about 55 percent of the private sector labor force and produce approximately 48 percent of our gross business product. The continued growth of small business is critically important if we are going to generate the expanding number of productive jobs our country will need in the coming years.

To provide small businessmen with the advice they need and the assistance that they require and to promote the interests of the small business sector, the Small Business Administration was established in 1953, under President Eisenhower. The intent of this legislation, as written in the statute, was to aid, to counsel, assist, and to protect the interests of small business concerns in order to preserve competitive enterprise as the basis for economic wall-being and the security of the Nation.

In 1953 I was in the House of Representatives and supported, as I think virtually every Member did, the creation of SBA. And I support it strongly today. As tangible proof of this commitment, in order to increase the ability of SBA to assist in financing the many, many small businesses which are unable to obtain financing in commercial markets, my fiscal year 1977 budget calls for an increase of 33 percent in SBA's major loan guarantee program--and we can blame Tom Kleppe for twisting my arm in that regard.

I am very pleased--I am sure it is obvious--to have someone with Mitch Kobelinski's ability, his perception, and his dedication assuming the lead role in aiding and assisting the small business community and heading up the handling of such matters for my administration. I look forward to working with Mitch in furthering the interests and the needs and the requirements of the small business community.

Now it is my great personal pleasure and privilege to participate in the swearing-in ceremony, and I ask Justice Stevens if he would administer the oath, please.

Note: The President spoke at 2:08 p.m. at a ceremony in the State Dining Room at the White House. In his opening remarks, he referred to Thomas S. Kleppe, Secretary of the Interior and former Administrator of the Small Business Administration.

John Paul Stevens, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, administered the oath of office.

Mr. Kobelinski's response to the President's remarks is printed in the Weekly Compilation of presidential Documents (vol. 12, p. 182).

Gerald R. Ford, Remarks at the Swearing In of Mitchell P. Kobelinski as Administrator of the Small Business Administration. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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