President-elect Joe Biden has selected entrepreneur and senior official Isabel Guzman to head the Small Business Administration, according to multiple news outlets.
Guzman currently heads California’s Office of the Small Business Advocate and has been a key player in shaping the economic response to the coronavirus pandemic in the state — which will help when she steps into her new role.
The SBA, which was created in 1953, has been instrumental in administering the Paychex Protection Program, which has been a lifeline for small businesses, nonprofits and self-employed workers to try to keep their businesses afloat during Covid.
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Guzman served as deputy chief of staff of the SBA during the Obama administration, and in 2019 moved to the California agency. According to Reuters, she is the daughter of a small business owner, and honed her business acumen working in her father’s veterinary hospitals.
She is the first Latina to be nominated to Biden’s Cabinet, but she is not the first Latin woman to lead the SBA — Jovita Carranza currently holds that title in the Trump administration.
If she is confirmed by the Senate, Guzman would head an agency that is charged with developing loan programs to help businesses, especially those affected by the pandemic.
Biden is also expected to announce Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, a moderate Democrat, as his pick for Commerce Secretary.