Contreras-Sweet Sworn In as SBA Secretary

By EGP Staff Report

A local businesswoman from Los Angeles was sworn in as the Secretary of the Small Business Administration Monday, making her one of just two Latinos in the Presidemt’s second term  Cabinet.

Maria Contreras-Sweet, 58, is the founder of ProAmerica Bank, a community bank that caters to small businesses.

Speaking before she was sworn-in by Vice President Joe Biden, President Obama said Contreras-Sweet “knows first-hand the challenges that small businesses go through.

Vice President Joe Biden ceremonially swears in Small Business Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, with her husband Ray Sweet holding the bible, in the South Court Auditorium of the White House, April 7, 2014. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

Vice President Joe Biden ceremonially swears in Small Business Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, with her husband Ray Sweet holding the bible, in the South Court Auditorium of the White House, April 7, 2014. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

“Maria understands that small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy,” the president said.

Biden called Contreras-Sweet a living example that “anything is possible in the United States of America.”

Contreras-Sweet, “whose mother worked long hours to support Maria and her five siblings,” has personally experienced the “challenges that working families and recent immigrants face,” Obama said when he announced Contreras-Sweet’s nomination.

Contreras-Sweet, born in Guadalajara, Mexico, moved with her family at age 5 to the Los Angeles area, where her mother worked in an El Monte chicken-packaging plant.

Reflecting on her mother’s hard work, Contreras-Sweet said “We didn’t have much, but what we did have was an abundance of hope.”

Congressman Xavier Becerra called Contreras-Sweet “the right person to help small businesses across America grow and thrive.”

He said “Maria’s story is a classic American success story – she knows the hard work and determination it takes to build a business from the ground up,” and that she “will be an indispensable advocate in making sure entrepreneurs have those opportunities to achieve their dreams.”

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April 10, 2014  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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