Cantwell to Host U.S. Senate Field Hearing in Vancouver on Small Business Lending

In Vancouver, U.S. Senate Small Business Committee to examine ‘Capital Access for Main Street: Meeting Opportunities of Growth along the Lower Columbia’

VANCOUVER, WA – U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) will host a U.S. Senate Small Business Committee Field Hearing on Wednesday at 10:30 A.M. in Vancouver, as the first stop on a weeklong small business listening tour in Washington state.

Cantwell, who became Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship in February, will visit Vancouver, the Tri-Cities, Seattle, Snohomish County and Spokane as part of her weeklong “Listening Tour on Small Business Creation.” She will hear from small business owners in Washington state on critical issues to small business growth, including innovation, access to capital and export opportunities.

Cantwell will start Wednesday in Vancouver with her first field hearing as committee chairwoman, entitled “Capital Access for Main Street: Meeting Opportunities of Growth along the Lower Columbia.” During the hearing, the Senate Small Business Committee will take testimony from Southwest Washington small business owners, lenders and economic development leaders about the challenges and successes in getting loans for local businesses to expand and create jobs.

Southwest Washington was one of the hardest hit areas in Washington state during the economic downturn.  While capital markets have improved in other regions recently, the region has been slower to recover. The amount loaned to small businesses in Southwest Washington dropped 42 percent over the last year, while the amount dropped 13 percent in the overall Portland/Southwest Washington region.

Cantwell will hear testimony from witnesses such as Amy O'Hara, co-owner of “When the Shoe Fits,” who will describe how loans backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration helped her expand from one to four stores. Other witnesses include:

  • Gregg Swanson, Vice President and Chief Lending Officer, Evergreen Business Capital;
  • Craig Chance, Senior Vice President of Community Financial Resources, Columbia Bank;
  • Mike Bomar, Columbia River Economic Development Council president; and
  • Eric Sawyer of the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.    

On Thursday, April 17, Cantwell will speak at the Tri-City Economic Development Council’s Bridging Partnerships Small Business Symposium in Pasco.

Next week, Cantwell will convene a hearing with innovators in the Seattle high-tech community on the importance of research – and the “Small Business Innovation Research” (SBIR) program administered by the Small Business Administration.

Cantwell then will travel to Arlington to hear from local businesses affected by the State Route 530 mudslide. The SBA oversees low-interest loans to businesses that are damaged or suffer economic loss from a disaster. SBA also administers loans to homeowners to help with damages not covered by insurance. The visit will follow President Obama’s scheduled visit to the disaster site on April 22.

On Friday April 25, Cantwell will join Senator Jim Risch (R-ID), ranking member of the Small Business Committee, for roundtables in Spokane and Coeur D’Alene to discuss the importance of increasing Inland Northwest small business exports.

Cantwell has long been a Senate leader in expanding opportunities for small businesses to grow and create jobs. She played a pivotal role in the Senate passage of the landmark Small Business Jobs Act (SBJA) of 2010, which expanded small businesses’ access to capital and created new export initiatives.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) reported that 549,391 small businesses were operating in Washington state in 2011. That represents 98.1% of all employers and these businesses provide 53.7% of private sector jobs in the state. 


Listening Tour on Small Business Creation


WEDNESDAY, 4/16 – Vancouver: Sen. Cantwell to host field hearing: “Capital Access for Main Street: Meeting Opportunities of Growth along the Lower Columbia.”


Who:          Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA)

                    Gregg Swanson, Vice President - Chief Lending Officer, Evergreen Business Capital;

                    Craig Chance. Senior Vice President, Community Financial Resources, Columbia Bank;

                   Mike Bomar, President, Columbia River Economic Development Council;

                     Eric Sawyer, BBSI Preferred Payroll, Vice Chair, Board of Directors. Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce;
                     Amy O'Hara, Owner, When the Shoe Fits


When:        Wednesday, April 16, 2014

        10:30 a.m.


Where:           Vancouver City Hall

             415 W. Sixth St.

Vancouver, WA 98660


THURSDAY, 4/17 – Pasco: Sen. Cantwell to address Tri-City Economic Development Council’s Bridging Partnerships Small Business Symposium in Pasco.


Who:          Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA)

When:        Thursday, April 17, 2014

Where:       TRAC Center

       6600 Burden Boulevard

                Pasco, WA 99301


THURSDAY, 4/24 – Seattle: Cantwell to host field hearing.

Further details to follow

 THURSDAY, 4/24 – Arlington: Cantwell to hold roundtable with small businesses affected by State Route 530 landslide.

Further details to follow

 FRIDAY, 4/25 – Spokane and Coeur D’Alene: Sens. Cantwell and Risch to host roundtables with Inland Northwest small businesses about increasing small business exports.

Further details to follow