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Senate Confirms Tom Sullivan as Chief Counsel for Advocacy

Hope is to cultivate "decisions that are less destructive to small business"

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The U.S. Senate has unanimously confirmed Thomas M. Sullivan as President Bush's appointment for the SBA's Chief Counsel for Advocacy. Sullivan now heads the independent office within the SBA that represents and protects America's small businesses during the federal regulatory and rule-making process.

Sullivan is the fifth confirmed chief counsel in the Office of Advocacy's history. He heads a team of attorneys and economists who work to reduce the burden federal agencies impose on small firms, conduct economic research and publish data on small businesses' contribution to the economy.

"This is an opportunity that comes along once in a lifetime," said Sullivan. "I plan to build on the good work already done by Advocacy and run a proactive office that will advance the interests of all small businesses," he said. "I hope to build good relations across the government, so that federal agencies will make decisions that are less destructive to small business."

Sullivan comes to the chief counsel position with a strong background in small-business issues. Most recently, he was executive director of the NFIB Legal Foundation, which provides small-business owners with guidance on legal issues and promotes a small-business agenda in the nation's courts. Before that, Sullivan led the Small Business Coalition for Regulatory Relief, as NFIB's Regulatory Policy Counsel. He also served in the administrator's office of the EPA and in the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Sullivan earned his law degree from Suffolk University in Boston in 1993 and in 1989 earned a bachelor's degree in English from Boston College.

Created by Congress in 1976, the Office of Advocacy is charged with independently advancing the views, concerns and interests of small business. The chief counsel does so before Congress, the White House, federal agencies, federal courts and state policy makers. As the watchdog for small business within the federal government, Advocacy intervenes on behalf of small business in the federal regulatory process as mandated by the Regulatory Flexibility Act and the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. In fiscal year 2001 alone, Advocacy's efforts helped save America's small businesses almost $4.4 billion in money they would have been spent attempting to comply with federal regulations imposed without the benefit of small-business input.