Friday, June 1, 2012

Reps. Tharinger and Van De Wege ensure President Obama hears rural business concerns, too

Small business owners on the Olympic Peninsula, along with civic and Tribal leaders, had the opportunity this week to share feedback on the economy with those who have President Obama’s ear – members of the White House Business Council.  Specifically, two representatives of the U.S. Small Business Administration came to Clallam County this week for roundtable discussions organized by Representatives Steve Tharinger and Kevin Van De Wege
Calvin W. Goings, a former Washington State Senator, is now an Assistant Associate Administrator with the SBA.  He and Jennifer Clark, an SBA Regional Advocate for Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, listened to the concerns of Clallam small business owners as they navigate the economic recovery. 
While the business owners represented many different sectors of the economy – retail, food production, real estate, hospitality and manufacturing, to name a few – they seemed to uniformly agree that the major hurdle facing small businesses right now is lack of access to capital.  Tightening of the credit market nationwide means many small businesses can’t expand or hire new employees, even though they want to. 
Their concerns will be relayed, unfiltered, to the Obama Administration by Goings and Clark.  With half of all American workers employed by small businesses, and two-thirds of all new jobs created in small business, we’re pretty sure the President will take these concerns very seriously.  Additionally, these roundtables provided the unique perspective of rural business owners from outside the I-5 corridor, where recovery is proceeding, albeit more slowly than in urban centers.
The SBA is a small federal agency with a big economic impact.  It helped small businesses across the country save $12 billion last year.  Here in Washington, the SBA has helped to provide 5,000 loans (representing $2 billion) to small businesses since the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was passed in 2009.

(Photo, from left:  Rep. Kevin Van De Wege, SBA Assistant Associate Administrator Calvin W. Goings, Clallam County business owner Bret Wirta, and Rep. Steve Tharinger at the May 30 White House Business Council roundtable in Sequim.  Photo courtesy of Linda Barnfather.)

To read this story in Spanish, click here.