Senate confirms Obama nominee Contreras-Sweet to lead Small Business Administration

WASHINGTON – The Senate has easily approved President Barack Obama’s choice of a woman who founded a Latino-owned bank in Los Angeles to head the Small Business Administration.

Senators voted by voice Thursday to confirm Maria Contreras-Sweet.

The Mexican-born Contreras-Sweet immigrated to the U.S. when she was five years old. She helped found a private equity firm that provided money to small California businesses and later helped start ProAmerica Bank, which helped small and medium-sized businesses. She also was secretary of California’s Business, Transportation and Housing Agency.

When Obama nominated her in January, he hailed her as a champion of businesses owned by women and families.

Contreras-Sweet fills a vacancy created when the Small Business Administration’s last administrator, Karen Mills, left in August.