maria conteras sweet

President Obama plans to nominate a California bank owner as the new head of the Small Business Administration.

Maria Contreras-Sweet, 58, who is to be introduced at an event Wednesday, founded and chairs the board of a Latino-owned community bank in Los Angeles.

If confirmed by the Senate, Contreras-Sweet would replace Karen Mills as SBA administrator.

From The Washington Post:

“The nomination also serves to address diversity concerns raised by some Democratic supporters of the president. If Contreras-Sweet is confirmed, eight women and two Latinos will have Cabinet or Cabinet-level posts this term, which is the same number as in Obama’s first term in office. …

“Contreras-Sweet’s career represents a mix of corporate and government experience. She served as secretary of the California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency between 1999 and 2003 … She founded the Pro­America Bank, a Latino-owned community bank in Los Angeles, in 2006. The bank, which offers bilingual services, aims to provide capital and services to small and mid-size businesses that often lack access to larger, traditional financial institutions.”

“Maria knows how hard it is to get started on a business,” Obama said. “The grueling hours, the stress, the occasional self-doubt, although I have not yet seen self-doubt out of Maria. She knows it herself.”

Conteras-Sweet’s grandmother once told her if she worked hard, she might eventually end up working as a secretary in an office, making her proud.  Obama noted that she ended up being a Cabinet secretary in California.

“Maria is fulfilling the vision of her grandma in ways that maybe are not entirely expected,” he said.








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