Thursday, February 5, 2015

Advocating on behalf of San Antonio Small Businesses in Washington, D.C.

The San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is, once again, honored to partner up with the San Antonio Chamber and Free Trade Alliance to provide an impactful SA to DC trip to more than 130 delegates from our great city of San Antonio.

SA to DC morning reception

In just three days delegates, on behalf of more than 40,000 small businesses in the San Antonio metropolitan area, have spoken to a number of Members of Congress, Senators, and administration officials to advocate on issues impacting the success of their companies.  San Antonio small businesses employ more than 80 percent of our community’s workforce, which is why it is vital that we send a clear message to politicians who have a seat at the decision-making table.

Omar Garcia, President and CEO of the South Texas Energy and Economic Roundtable (STEER), along with Rudy Garza, Hispanic Chamber Board Member, led the Energy Issue team in meetings throughout the SA to DC event.  A meeting with Congressman Gene Green of Houston focused on the importance of Energy Preservation, the fluctuation of oil prices, and how these are affecting the economy. In addition, they explored how oil, gas, and natural resources are impacting the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas. 

Omar Garcia, STEER

Furthermore, the Hispanic Chamber, along with its partner Brooks City Base led the Immigration team across the Hill to advocate for the EB-5 worker visa program to extend more economic development opportunities and jobs for military bases across the country.

As part of its international trade efforts, the Hispanic Chamber had the honor of meeting with Ambassador Ramon Gil-Casares at the Embassy of Spain to follow up with a recent trade mission taken by the Chamber last September.

L to R: Michael Vela, C. Leroy Cavazos, Ramon Gil-Casares, Ramiro Cavazos, Wes Baerga

A very important high-level meeting for the Small Business Issue Team, chaired by Wes Baerga of Vuepoint Creative Digital Marketing Agency and Hispanic Chamber Executive Board Member, was with the United States Small Business Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet.  Contreras-Sweet sat down with delegates to discuss her focus on the development of smarter and more efficient systems to simplify the process of acquiring an SBA Loan, including the development of a completely bilingual website. She invited the heads of each of the SBA departments to explore partnership opportunities, which would benefit the San Antonio Small Business community, between her office and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.


L to R: C. Leroy Cavazos, Michael Vela, Brianna Dimas, Wes Baerga, Councilman Alan Warrick, Maria Contreras-Sweet, Ramiro Cavazos, Jackie Gorman (SAGE)

On Tuesday morning, the Education Issue Team, chaired by Dr. Rudy Reyna of UTSA and Hispanic Chamber Executive Board Member and Romanita Matta-Barrera, spent half the day at the Department of Education.  Here, they attended a series of four meetings to discuss challenges and the possibility of improvements to Financial Aid, Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), Early Childhood Education, STEM Education, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and much more. The Hispanic Chamber was pleased to meet the Director of STEM for the Department of Education, Russell Shilling, who introduced them to new partnerships for our STEM initiatives including new funding opportunities.

On Wednesday, the Education Issue Team met with the staff of the Department of Labor to discuss the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, who Mayor Ivy Taylor recently supported. They also discussed the recent $100 million investment in new Apprenticeship Grants to aid skilled workers in re-entering the job market and helping strengthen our 21st century workforce.  Lastly, they also met with Congressman Joaquin Castro who personally committed to once again be our Champion for the Hispanic Chamber's Annual CORE4 STEM Expo this November. His support is detrimental to helping grow the CORE4 STEM initiative and impact even more low-income, minority students.

For more information about the Hispanic Chamber's Legislative Priorities, visit www.sahcc.org.

Speaker of the House John Boehner addresses the San Antonio delegation at a reception Wednesday night in the Cannon Building.

#SAtoDC2015        #ItsOurTimeSA



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