WASHINGTON - Senator John F. Kerry, Chairman of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, today urged the Senate panel to confirm Hector Barreto as Administrator of the Small Business Administration, the top post at the Agency.

"Hector Barreto has a proven record of success as an entrepreneur and active leader in the business community, and I am confident he understands the issues important to small business owners. I am also confident he is someone with whom I can work closely to ensure we keep the government on the side of small businesses, particularly as we find new and creative ways to increase opportunities for minorities and women in the small business community."

"In advancing a pro-business agenda, we'll have some real challenges ahead. The Small Business Administration doesn't create jobs, businesses do - but thousands upon thousands of businesses in this country wouldn't be creating jobs today if SBA weren't there as a strong partner. Since 1993, the SBA has provided more services and loans to small businesses than in the entire history of the Agency, and its made a difference. Hector Barreto's first challenge as Administrator will be to join with Sen. Bond and I in our fight to win an adequate budget for the Small Business Administration, a job made tougher by the Administration's announced intentions to cut critical investments in small business loans and other important efforts.

"Small businesses need a partner in government -- we should not thoughtlessly burden them with regulations and red tape that drives them out of business, and we should not cut off the lifeline many depend on in an SBA which provides access to capital, access to credit, and emergency assistance in times of need. I want to work with Hector Barreto to ensure that under his leadership the SBA continues down the path of reform carved out over the last eight years, and I am confident that in Sen. Bond and I he will find partners eager to do all we can to foster that commitment to entrepreneurship here in the Senate."

Hector Barreto's nomination will be voted on by the Committee and, if approved, will then go to the Senate floor for final approval.