This afternoon Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez received the enthusiastic public endorsement of about a dozen small business owners, many of whom spoke at varying lengths. In her opening remarks, Rep. Sanchez recounted some of her efforts at supporting small businesses. She spoke of the 16 bills passed in the last two years that were aimed specifically at small business which, she said, generates half of the nation’s GDP. Among the successes are a micro-lending program through the SBA, tax credit for hiring a worker who has been unemployed for more than six months, and a 35% subsidy of health insurance premiums for small businesses that can find coverage.
She also emphasized the importance of education as it relates to small businesses. Loretta Sanchez was the only vote from Orange County to send $178 million last year and $83 million this year to help keep schools open here. She also spoke of programs that bring or keep science, mathematics, technology, and engineering courses in the classroom. These are among the skills many small businesses need to grow and succeed. Rep. Sanchez reminded everyone that the entire student loan program was completely overhauled. They’ve cut out the middle man and making loans less expensive and also easier to repay because repayment rates are based on the job you get instead of forcing graduates “to look for a high paying job that’s not in the passion area that you studied for and that you want to be in.”
Business owners shared their reasons for supporting Representative Sanchez’s re-election.
Brad Caso, co-founder of Tenacore, a Santa Ana-based medical products distribution company, â€œIâ€™d like to say a few things about howÂ Congresswoman Sanchezâ€™s ideas and some of the things she has promoted in the community here in aÂ business that operates in Santa Ana. Weâ€™ve benefited greatly from the training funding thatâ€™s been provided at both the state and federal level. When we can have somebody come in with a minimal amount of training and we can take that person on to an almost engineering level of expertise. That certainly helps us compete locally and globally. More importantly, innovation is something we are focused on as a medical device company thatâ€™s also providing services in the biomedical field.â€
Joel Moskowitz, founder and CEO of Ceradyne, a ceramics company in Costa Mesa, makes the ceramic armor for our military, among other products. “Where Loretta fits in was my personal support that really did not have to do with the business when we were much smaller [Ed. Note: The business started very small and now employs 2,000]. It had to do with my own ideas of representation in our country. Now I think everybody should understand her position on the House Armed Services Committee is very powerful because of her seniority. As our defense business will tend to moderate because of the lack of current demand, there is this concept from Congress of sustaining the industrial base. It’s the person with the position, longevity, seniority the knowledge of how Washington operates that we have looked to her. She has stepped forward to help companies like ours. We appreciate that. I don’t know how you substitute for that because of the system in the nation’s capital where seniority calls the shots. We have a woman at the highest level at the Armed Services Committee and Homeland Security Committee. She goes to bat for the people here. So I thank you congresswoman and appreciate being able to say a few words for you here.”
Kirsten Mangers, founder of Irvineâ€™s Webvisible, an Irvine leader in online advertising, known for bringing the Internet as an advertising and customer acquisition medium to small businesses around the world. “When we took funding, from the beginning I spoke with the congresswoman about being able to grow an innovative technology company here in Orange County, thatâ€™s not in Silicone Valley and we were told you couldnâ€™t succeed down here in the Silicone Beach, as they said. But weâ€™ve shown great success. In fact, in the last year, in 2009 weâ€™ve doubled the size of the company and weâ€™ve doubled our revenue. Ironically, our company is not just a small business but we serve small businesses every day helping them find ways of getting online and doing customer acquisition to grow their businesses. So we hear the stories every day. And we need to tough them so I did what most people do. I went to our congresswoman with a wish list. It began with a cap on the capital gains. Itâ€™s extremely important to our business. And on a personal level, Iâ€™m working with the congresswoman to be able to look at entrepreneurâ€™s relief. So when thereâ€™s an exit or a company does sell, that for those of us who have put our lifeâ€™s work and literally our lifeâ€™s dollars into a business, thereâ€™s some protection so that we may feed the kitty yet again and grow and sustain other businesses. Iâ€™m very thrilled to be here to support the congresswoman.â€
Mike Zani, CEO of DIGIBeam, based in Laguna Nigel, a leading computer technology firm that produces digital chips and other electronic components. â€œIâ€™ve been working with Loretta Sanchez for over 10 years now and she is very aware, a very good listener and very engaging. She pushes me in different business directions as well as having me interact with different people on a federal level in understanding what our technology does. The background of what sheâ€™s supported is very business oriented, tax wise, and thatâ€™s very important to me. The STEM program is very important to us because what we hire is engineering students and over the past year weâ€™ve almost doubled our size and engineering students are a large part of that.â€ [Ed. Note: I didnâ€™t know what the STEM program is, so I looked and found this. Happy reading]
Ben Mendoza Jr., second generation owner of Kellyâ€™s Body Shop in Santa Ana. â€œIâ€™ve had the privilege and honor of working with the Congresswoman for many years now. Sheâ€™s always been vital for small business, always had an ear for our concerns and Iâ€™m very excited about her bringing more money and funds for the educational programs. I can tell you as theÂ business owner of a auto body shop the components of a vehicles nowadays are very exciting. You have high strength aluminum seals, vital components that require students to be educated. Thatâ€™s why weâ€™re looking for help from her to get trade schools to get students educated to get them going on the right path â€“ and be able to get more employees and workers in our industry.â€
Henry The Le, owner of Pho Tau Bay L.T.T., a popular Vietnamese restaurant in Santa Ana. “Iâ€™m here just to support my congresswoman. Iâ€™m not getting help from her for my business but I know a lot of my friends, small business owners, are. Iâ€™m here to express my appreciation for her help for the Vietnamese community. Anytime, anywhere someone needs help, I see her there to help.”
Do Phu, Garden Grove attorney who represents consumers and small businesses. “Itâ€™s an honor to speak on the congresswomanâ€™s behalf. Iâ€™m a lawyer and Vietnamese American. As a small law firm we represent consumers and small businesses and weâ€™ve seen that through the years sheâ€™s been in congress she has helped protect consumers from credit card abuse and other ways of helping small businesses. And besides that, as a Vietnamese American, Iâ€™m moved and touched by her dedication to help in the fight against the dictatorship in Vietnam and especially for Human Rights. Sheâ€™s a forefront soldier in that area. As a Vietnamese American who escaped the Communists, I appreciate your help very much.â€
Javier Gutierrez Jr. and Javier Gutierrez Sr., â€œWe have a construction company and we need more skilled people. With her help we want to get people out there to learn those trades so we have more skilled people in our trade, as well. If we hire people who have been unemployed for more than six months, with that extra money that we save on our tax, we can hire more people.â€