Snowe Days

Ushering in a new leader at the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the February 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Olympia Snowe (R-ME) was surprised to find herself chair of the Senate Committee on and , because she expected Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) to resume the position in the new . But Snowe brings experience. "Maine's is almost exclusively ," says Dave Lackey, Snowe's communications director, "so the senator has to understand their issues."

As a member of the committee, Snowe previously focused on preventing from spiraling-she co-sponsored legislation that would allow self-employed businesspeople to take a 100 percent deduction for . As chair, she plans to make her top priority. Lackey says Snowe "can't go more than 20 feet in Maine without hearing from small businesses about health-insurance problems." To keep costs down, he says, Snowe will probably sponsor hearings on small businesses' health-insurance crisis and then push legislation addressing rising costs. This legislation may include promoting association health plans and loosening restrictions on medical savings accounts.

Snowe also plans to focus on expanding entrepreneurs' access to . "Small businesses too often are ignored in trade issues in favor of large companies," says Lackey. Snowe has worked to create an assistant U.S. trade representative position, dedicated to promoting small-business exports, and plans to push legislation designed to educate entrepreneurs about trade opportunities and promote microloans to small exporters.

Finally, Lackey says, Snowe is committed to the SBA's flagship 7(a) loan program, a major source of capital for entrepreneurs who had been targeted for cuts by the White House. "Senator Snowe wants to make sure the long-term future of the 7(a) program never comes into doubt," says Lackey. "She knows how important it is to small business."


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