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President Obama's nominees for high-level Small Business Administration (SBA) positions look as they may have a clear lane to Senate confirmation in September.
The changing of the guard would usher in Winslow Sargeant for the position of head of SBA's Office of Advocacy and Peggy Gustafson for SBA Agency Inspector General.
SBA's Office of Advocacy was created in 1976 and provides an independent forum for small business within the federal government structure. The Office of Advocacy aims to protect, strengthen, and represent small business within legislative and rule-making processes. And, it works to reduce burdens that federal policies impose on small firms while also maximizing government benefits to small businesses.
Unlike past Chief Counsels of SBA's Office of Advocacy, Sargeant does not have a law degree. Instead, he points to his post-graduate work in a technical field and experience as managing director of a venture capital firm to help him streamline the small business end of regulation. Among its various roles, the Chief Counsel is responsible for deciding whether federal agencies have carefully considered the role that proposed regulations would have on small business. Sargeant has also made it a goal to look into ways intellectual property rights of small businesses can be further protected and to focus on strengthening the small business role in rural economies.
Peggy Gustafson is the nominee for SBA Inspector General, which aims to improve SBA management and effectiveness and detect and deter fraud in the SBA's various programs. She has served as general counsel in the office of a Missouri Senator and worked closely with inspectors general on legislative initiatives.
Considering that the SBA was allocated $730 million in the economic stimulus bill, the new watchdogs will be tasked with making major big-money decisions that will affect the country's 25 million small businesses.