Because of his entrepreneurial experience and involvement in business groups, which help minorities, the US Senate approved Hector V. Barreto Jr., a small business owner from Los Angeles, to run the Small Business Administration (SBA).

?I?m pleased with Mr. Barreto?s small business roots and admire his efforts to empower Hispanic Americans to share in our country?s economic vitality,? said Sen. John Kerry (D- Mass.), chairman of the Senate?s Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee.

Barreto?s father, a Mexican immigrant, owned three restaurants in Kansas City and was the founder of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, now the nation?s largest organization of Latino businesses.

Barreto has founded and ran an insurance & financial services company in 1986 and later a Securities Broker Dealer firm in Los Angeles. He headed the Latin Business Association in LA. He has served as co-chairman of the Bush campaign in California during the 2000 campaign and last October was appointed vice chairman for the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Barreto?s experience and leadership will be needed. The SBA face large budget cuts from the Bush administration, which has proposed reducing funding by almost $370 million to $539 million for the first fiscal year beginning 10/01/01. Although Barreto has not given details, he has pledged to reduce regulations and improve capital access, via loans and venture capital programs, for small businesses. Further he wants to provide 24-hour-a-day technical assistance through entrepreneurial development partners and strengthen public and private partnerships to encourage better opportunities for small businesses.

Many are hopeful that his appointment will yield gains. Senator Christopher ?Kit? Bond (R-Mo.) said, ?I am confident that Hector Barreto will do a solid job at the helm of the SBA.?