Why Hillary Clinton must win in November

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton arrives before a rally at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts on October 12, 2016 in Las Vegas, NV.
Ricky Carioti | The Washington Post | Getty Images
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton arrives before a rally at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts on October 12, 2016 in Las Vegas, NV.

Courage, perseverance, resiliency, and fiscal prudence…these are a just a few of the attributes we see in successful entrepreneurs every day. Their passionate desire to bring their ideas to life, to provide for their families, and to build thriving communities makes small business owners the lifeblood of the American economy. This is also what inspires us to start our businesses.

Like so many entrepreneurs across this country, I had to become my own CEO – Chief Everything Officer – decrypting confusing permitting processes, mastering expensive health care packages for employees, and competing against "the big guys" for clients. As small business owners we require confidence, and certainty that our government leaders have our backs. We want them to cut red tape—eliminating burdensome government requirements and streamlining complex processes.

For a more robust economy, the small business community deserves to have capital unlocked on a more equitable basis, correcting the gross inequity of 78 percent of venture capital being concentrated in three states; sadly, only six percent is going to women and one percent to African-Americans and Latino-Americans each.

We need a level playing field with a fair and simple tax code. We must have access to new markets, including our fair share of the federal marketplace, corporate supply chain and international commerce. Thankfully, there is a candidate running for president who understands these priorities and has made it abundantly clear that she will be the "small business president."

As an entrepreneur and first-generation American, my love of country runs deep. This love has been driving my long-standing desire to give back to our nation that has provided so much for so many. While running my first business, an unexpected opportunity presented itself to serve my state.

I had the honor of being appointed to serve in California's state cabinet as the Secretary of Business, Transportation, and Housing, becoming the first Latina to serve at the cabinet level. After leaving office, I saw the need to start a bank serving small- and medium-sized businesses, becoming the founding chairwoman of a Latino-owned community bank in Los Angeles. I became a small businesswoman whose small business served small businesses every day.

"Clinton understands first-hand our inherent challenges and how a small business can open the door to the middle class."

These public and private sector experiences give me a deep appreciation of the importance of a president prepared on day one to navigate the complexities of our vast federal government and assure that the 'small' is taken into consideration at every opportunity. This is why I find Hillary Clinton's candidacy most compelling.

Her extensive experience combined with her early exposure as the daughter of a small business owner in Illinois, Clinton understands first-hand our inherent challenges and how a small business can open the door to the middle class. She has the right plan to overcome the inherent obstacles.

As a five-year old arriving in the United States, I viewed my new home with eyes wide open to its boundless opportunities. My family, like so many others, chose this country over all others because the United States has a built-in formula for prosperity and success—freedom, justice, and reward. That's why America has become the world's magnet of talent, creativity, and determination.

Hillary strives for economic justice. She respects the dignity of every child and fights for every American. She understands that education builds the foundation for our country to remain competitive for generations, and that includes lifting up students from low-income families, supporting English-language learners and kids with disabilities.

She also knows that to do this, we must empower our teachers, providing them the modern resources they need to guide our children's growth. This is how we achieve the economic justice that assures a future of productive workers and determined entrepreneurs.

For the past eight years we have climbed steadily out of our deepest recession in decades, with an historic 77 consecutive months of job growth. Our country must continue to be a place where all hard-working Americans can get ahead, where all our children can realize their dreams of a better life, and where economic opportunity flourishes.

The Hillary Clinton I know has the profound knowledge and genuine experience that it takes to move government, to elevate all of us, to lead this great nation.

She understands the need to support our small businesses, which now generate two-thirds of American jobs and employ half of the private sector workforce. We both share a deep passion and respect for entrepreneurs as the engine of our economy.

Hillary and I salute the mom and pops, main street retailers, the entrepreneurs and innovators for their vision and energy for they are the manufacturers who make 'Made in America' the most admired brand in the world. These courageous, resilient men and women provide opportunity, enrich our communities, and propel our nation forward.

For the future of our children, our economy, and our country, we need to elect Hillary Clinton president on November 8th.

Commentary by Maria Contreras-Sweet, the current head of the Small Business Administration.

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