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What being a successful businessman taught Rep. John Delaney about politics

VIDEO1:2001:20
Before entering politics, John Delaney carved out a niche in business providing capital to small and mid-sized businesses

CNBC's John Harwood sat down with Rep. John Delaney to talk about his experience running a company that provided capital to small and mid-size businesses. Here's what they discussed.

Harwood: So, this restaurant is the place where you used to come when you ran your business across the street?

Delaney: Yep.

Harwood: Tell me about that business.

Delaney: It was my second company. It was a company called Capital Source, which was focuses on financing small and midsize companies all over the country. Our niche was companies that were growing too fast for their local community bank, but weren't big enough to be served by the big banks.

I built a business to target just that part of the market. It became a good-sized company. We ended up financing five thousand companies. I took it public. I ran it until I decided to run for Congress. I spent most of my career helping small businesses get the capital they need to grow, hire people and pursue their dreams.

Harwood: Tell me about your first company.

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Delaney: Similar. It was called Health Care Financial Partners. It focused on financing small to midsized health-care companies. Unlike the second company, which was more broad based, Health Care Financial focused on just small to midsized health-care companies. Started that company in 1993, took it public in 1996. I think at the time I was the youngest CEO in the New York Stock Exchange and then I ran that company for three years and sold it.

Harwood: Why politics?

Delaney: Well, I know this may sound a little corny, but my wife and I always thought of our life as a third learning, a third earning, and a third serving. I always wanted to dedicate a meaningful amount of my time to public service. It probably grew out of some of the philanthropic stuff we were doing.

I just felt like it was the way for me to make the most transformative difference was to take some of the core beliefs I had plus my experience in the private sector as an entrepreneur, starting businesses, and really bring that to public service and not only do things to improve our economy but to just help as many people as I could.