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Nominee for SBA head passes first Senate test

NEW YORK— Maria Contreras-Sweet is one step closer to becoming head of the Small Business Administration.

The Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship approved Contreras-Sweet’s nomination Wednesday by a unanimous voice vote. Contreras-Sweet now faces a vote by the full Senate. If confirmed, she will succeed Karen Mills, who left the SBA in August.

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Contreras-Sweet was secretary of California’s Business, Transportation and Housing Agency. She is also the cofounder of Los Angeles-based ProAmerica Bank, which focuses on lending to small businesses. And she co-founded Fortius Holdings, a private equity and venture fund that invested in small businesses.

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