Patriot Ledger article by Jon Chesto

QUINCY — When Sen. John Kerry landed his gig as chairman of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship committee nearly two years ago, he seemingly found a post that could avoid public controversy.

After all, who doesn’t want to help the little guy?

However, controversy eventually has a way of catching up with just about every legislative committee. In Kerry’s case, he recently tried to broker a compromise between two small-business constituencies – those with major venture-capital funding and those without it – in a high-stakes battle over federal research funds.

The fight over the future of the Small Business Innovation Research program is being closely followed here in Massachusetts, which is the second largest recipient of SBIR funds after California. According to Kerry’s office, Massachusetts small businesses received $241 million from the $2.1 billion program in 2006.

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