Ted Kaufman - United States Senator for Delaware

Sen. Kaufman Recognizes Great Federal Employee, Jayne Armstrong

July 21, 2010

Mr. President, I rise once more to honor one of America's great Federal employees.

Last week, the Senate focused a lot of its attention on reforming our regulation of Wall Street. As important as that is, we must not forget that the health of our economy depends on the success of businesses on Main Street. Small businesses form the backbone of our prosperity and embody the American dream for millions of families.

From the colonial merchants at our beginning to those who opened stores in frontier towns in the 19th century, from the mom and pop shops in the postwar years to the online start-ups of our day, small businesses have driven our economy.

Over the past 57 years, the Small Business Administration has been helping small business owners obtain loans and find resources to help them prosper. By guaranteeing loans that small businesses take out from banks, the SBA enables entrepreneurs to grow and develop their businesses with confidence, which helps create jobs and improve local economies.

It was created out of the old Reconstruction Finance Corporation, which was set up during the Hoover administration to lend capital to businesses hurt by the Great Depression. The SBA was founded in 1953, on the cusp of an economic boom that saw the proliferation of new small businesses throughout the Nation.

In 1964, the SBA's Equal Opportunity Loan Program helped tackle poverty by encouraging new businesses started by entrepreneurs living below the poverty line. In the aftermath of natural disasters, the SBA provides emergency assistance to help keep small businesses running. Today, the SBA continues to play an important role in helping small business owners launch and grow their businesses.

The great Federal employee I am honoring this week has worked at the SBA for 16 years.

Jayne Armstrong currently serves as the SBA district director for Delaware. I have known her for several years, and I have seen firsthand her dedication to helping Delaware small businesses thrive.

Jayne, a native of Pittsburgh, worked in advertising, high-tech economic development, and higher education development before joining the SBA in 1994. She holds bachelor's and master's degrees from West Virginia University. First serving as the district director for West Virginia and regional advocate in the SBA's Office of Advocacy, Jayne helped organize the White House Conference on Small Businesses in 1995. She also represented the SBA in Russia during the first-ever formal exchange between American and Russian entrepreneurs the following year.

Since coming to Delaware and, Mr. President, I should add that she has lived in my home State for the past 10 years--Jayne has become one of the greatest advocates for First State entrepreneurs. She has helped hundreds of Delawareans turn ideas into businesses. Nothing, including the economic down turn, slows her down in her drive to help small business owners obtain the loans they need to open or expand.

Jayne has placed a particular emphasis on helping entrepreneurs take advantage of SBA loan programs created through the Recovery Act, such as Queen Bee Beauty Supply in Smyrna, a minority woman-owned business, and Miller Metal Fabrication in Bridgeville, a design engineering and manufacturing company.

These are just two of the hundreds of businesses that have Jayne and the SBA to thank for helping them get their start or expand into new opportunities.

Jayne is also substantially involved in our State's nonprofit community. She serves on the boards of Girls, Inc., the Caesar Rodney Rotary Club, and Delaware Tech's Entrepreneurial Advisory Consortium, among others. Former Governor Ruth Ann Miller appointed her to serve on the Delaware Commission for Women.

The SBA serves as a fitting example of how the Federal Government works with the private sector to fuel job creation--a goal we are continuing to focus heavily on in this Congress.

I hope my colleagues will join me in thanking Jayne Armstrong and all of the men and women at the Small Business Administration for their hard work to help our small business sector grow and prosper. They are all truly great Federal employees.

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