WASHINGTON Jan 15 U.S. President Barack Obama
nominated Maria Contreras-Sweet on Wednesday to lead the Small
Business Administration, an agency that provides loans and helps
small businesses get government contracts.
"She understands the needs of small business owners like
herself. She knows how they can lift entire communities, and
ultimately how they lift our country," Obama said in making the
announcement at the White House.
She is the second Hispanic nominated to Obama's second-term
cabinet after Labor Secretary Tom Perez.
Contreras-Sweet founded ProAmerica Bank, a Latino-owned
community bank in Los Angeles, which focuses on lending to
small- and medium-sized Latino businesses.
"Maria knows how hard it is to get started on a business,
the grueling hours, the stress, the occasional self-doubt -
although I have not yet seen self-doubt out of Maria," Obama
The Mexican-born Contreras-Sweet was California's secretary
of business, transportation and housing in the Democratic
administration of Gray Davis. She immigrated to the United
States as a child.