Thursday, June 12, was a historic day for the women business ownership community. Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), Sen. Christopher Bond (R-Mo.) and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) stood on the floor of the U.S. Senate and introduced a major piece of legislation which will propel women business owners into the 21st Century. "This legislation, the 'Women's Business Centers Act of 1997' is one small step for women; one giant leap for the women's business ownership community in the country," said Terry Neese, past national president and corporate and public affairs liaison for the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). "Obviously, NAWBO's testimony in February and April before the Senate Committee on Small Business was heard. First, we want to commend Sen. Bond for his leadership in calling for a hearing on women-owned and home-based businesses. Second, the 'Women's Business Centers Act of 1997' increases the level of funding authorized for establishing additional Women's Business Centers to $8 million per year for three years, which is double the current authorization of $4 million per year. In addition, this legislation will expand the funding period from three years to five years. These actions are in line with NAWBO's testimony and suggestions before the Senate Committee. We look forward to working with Domenici, Bond and Kerry to advance this bill and part of the Small Business Reauthorization Act of 1997. Finally, with the attention women business owners are currently receiving in Congress, we believe other challenges women business owners face will soon be addressed." ------ The National Association of Women Business Owners is the only chapter dues based organization in the country representing the nearly 8 million U.S. women business owners who employ 18.5 million workers and contribute $2.3 trillion in sales to the U.S. economy. NAWBO has 60 chapters with 10 chapters currently in formation. NAWBO is also affiliated with Les Femmes Chefs D'Enterprises Mondiales, the World Association of Women Entrepreneurs. FCEM has 30 member countries, with a membership of about 30,000 individual women business owners.