Rep. TJ Cox leads coalition to open SBA's Office of Rural Affairs and appoint full-time director

By The Leader Staff
Rep. TJ Cox
Rep. TJ Cox

Central Valley Congressman TJ Cox this week announced that he and a bipartisan coalition delivered a letter to Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Jovita Carranza. In the letter, Cox urged the SBA to open the Office of Rural Affairs.

The office currently lacks a full-time director during the most urgent health and economic crisis of most of the nation, said Cox.

Joining Cox in signing the letter were fellow representatives Greg Steube, Abby Finkenauer, Aumua Amata, and Coleman Radewagen.

It was in May 2019 that Cox introduced a bipartisan bill to study why the SBA Office of Rural Affairs, established in 1990 and mandated by law, had been dismantled.

Section 26 of the Small Business Act (15 USC 653) established an Office of Rural Affairs within the Small Business Administration that has explicit functions to help small businesses that are especially needed during this time, including: 

Striving to achieve an equitable distribution of the financial assistance available from the Administration for small business concerns located in rural areas; and providing information to industries, organizations, and state and local governments concerning the support available to rural small business concerns through the Administration and other Federal departments and agencies. 

In response, the Small Business Administration appointed a director for this office and in November 2019. Cox extracted a guarantee from the newly appointed director that the office would be promptly staffed.

“Rural businesses already struggling in today’s economy are being pushed to the breaking point by this crisis. They need help now,” said Cox. “That is why we need an operational Office of Rural Affairs, and why I’m extremely concerned that the SBA has failed to meet their commitment to open and operate this office. The livelihood of millions of working families hangs in the balance.”

Other members of Congress concurred.  

“In my remote District, almost all of our employers are small businesses, and economic activity is restricted everywhere right now. Our nation’s small businesses need and deserve strong support through these unexpected difficulties,” said Rep. Radewagen. “Thank you to Congressman Cox for his leadership on this effort.” 



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