Sen. Snowe presides over final small business hearing

Sen. Olympia Snowe receives a standing ovation during her final Small Business Committee hearing.

On Thursday, Sen. Olympia Snowe presided over her final Small Business and Entrepreneurship committee meeting as Ranking Member. She’s sat on the committee since being elected to the Senate in 1995, and chaired it from 2003-06.

Watch the video of Snowe’s remarks, or scroll down for the text version:

“As my final term draws to a close, I want to begin by saying how proud I am of the work we have accomplished over the years. Looking back, my own service on the Small Business Committee dates to my very first days in the House in 1979. And for the past ten years, it has been my privilege to serve this Committee as either the Chair or Ranking Member – because I can’t think of any higher priority than being a megaphone for small businesses in Maine and across America.

“The fact is that entrepreneurship will play a momentous role in our nation’s recovery. Small business owners endeavor everyday to find solutions to problems, to improve their balance sheets, and to do right by their employees. Public service should be about problem solving – and we owe it to our small businesses to do our part, by working together across party lines, to prevent issues like the fiscal cliff, and to solve the other major problems of our time. We owe it to the entrepreneurs who are creating jobs and leading us towards a real economic recovery to get out of their way, and put a halt to regulatory and tax policies that impeded expansion and growth.

“As I leave the Senate in a few short weeks, I want to urge my colleagues to continue our work together to protect small businesses from regulatory overreach and ensure federal bureaucracy does not stifle the ability of America’s entrepreneurs to innovate, create jobs. We must finally meet the statutory goal we established to guarantee that small firms receive their fair share of federal contracts, open doors for entrepreneurs in markets abroad, expand opportunities for women and minorities to realize the dream of owning their own business, and make certain that small businesses have access to affordable capital to grow their businesses and create desperately needed jobs.

“As you all have heard me say before, and will continue to hear me discuss after I leave the Senate in January, none of these goals can be reached without compromise – without bipartisanship. We must strive to find common ground, and to reach consensus on the issues that matter most to our fellow Americans. As I close for the last time as Ranking Member of this Committee, it is my hope that the legacy of bipartisanship and problem solving that has defined the Committee will continue. America’s small businesses deserve no less, and our country requires these entrepreneurs now more than ever.”

Whit Richardson

About Whit Richardson

Whit Richardson is Business Editor at the Bangor Daily News. He blogs about Maine business, entrepreneurs and the economy.