SBA nominee appears headed to easy confirmation

NEW YORK (AP) — Maria Contreras-Sweet appears headed to an easy Senate confirmation as head of the Small Business Administration.

Contreras-Sweet won praise from Republicans and Democrats Wednesday during a hearing by the Senate Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee.

"I'm glad to see the president has appointed someone of your caliber to do this," said James Risch, R-Idaho, the senior Republican on the committee.

Contreras-Sweet told the committee she would increase the SBA's marketing efforts so the public is more aware of its programs and services. She also said she wants to increase help to small businesses after natural disasters. Contreras-Sweet, who lives in California, recalled the Northridge earthquake that damaged thousands of small businesses 20 years ago.

The committee and the full Senate must still vote on the nomination of Contreras-Sweet, the co-founder of ProAmerica Bank in Los Angeles and a former head of the California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency.

The hearing, held in Washington, was streamed over the Internet.

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