SBA Administrator and PBS NewsHour Host Featured in Wi6 Legislative Day Keynote

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This week, the American Booksellers Association announced that Karen Mills, the administrator of the Small Business Administration, and PBS’ Jim Lehrer will be the featured speakers at the opening, keynote event for the first day at Winter Institute 2011. The conversation between Mills – the highest-ranking official in the Obama administration for small business issues – and Lehrer will focus on the challenges and opportunities facing small businesses today. The event, part of a special Legislative Day, will be followed by a full day of programming that will focus on the special role of independent businesses and the political process.

“For more than 50 years, SBA has been a crucial resource for all those looking to start, build, and grow their small businesses, including indie booksellers nationwide,” said ABA CEO Oren Teicher. “We are extremely excited and grateful that Administrator Mills will join us at the Winter Institute to discuss SBA’s new initiatives and core programs, as well as the unique role small businesses play in both a healthy local economy and the economic recovery. We are doubly grateful that Jim Lehrer, one of America’s most talented and thoughtful journalists, will join us in this conversation.”

SBA Administrator Karen Mills

Karen Mills was sworn in April 6, 2009, as the 23rd Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed unanimously by the Senate, Mills directs a federal agency with more than 2,000 full-time employees and a leading role helping small business owners and entrepreneurs secure financing, technical assistance, training, and federal contracts. Even while traditional lending for small businesses remains tight, the SBA has been able to support more than $30 billion in small business lending, with billions more on the way as a result of the new Small Business Jobs Act.

PBS NewsHour's Jim Lehrer
Credit: MacNeil/Lehrer Productions

Jim Lehrer, the host of PBS NewsHour, is the recipient of the 1999 National Humanities Medal, three Emmys, the George Foster Peabody Broadcast Award, and numerous other honors. In the last six presidential elections, he has served as a moderator for 11 of the nationally televised debates among the candidates. Lehrer is also the author of 20 novels, two memoirs, and three plays. His latest novel, Super, was published by Random House in April 2010.

After the conversation between Mills and Lehrer, Legislative Day will feature a morning session that examines effective steps retailers have taken to become politically engaged to benefit their businesses and their communities. Following that, there will be a working lunch, where booksellers will be briefed on key legislative issues before heading to Capitol Hill for afternoon meetings with their elected officials. ABA will schedule all appointments for the legislative visits and will provide talking points and relevant backup materials for the meetings. “There is no substitute for substantive, face-to-face meetings with elected officials to deliver an important advocacy message,” said Teicher. “We hope as many booksellers as possible will join us for what we believe will be an exciting and rewarding day.”

Legislative Day will end with a reception co-sponsored by the Center for the Book, at the Montpelier Room in the Library of Congress’ Madison Building.

Wi6 is sponsored by the Ingram Content Group and is open exclusively to ABA bookstore and provisional members. Registration will be capped at 500, but spaces are filling fast. Hotel reservations should be made directly through the Crystal Gateway Marriott. Attendees should note on the online registration form that they would like to participate in the legislative visits on Capitol Hill.

Here’s more information about all the programming at Wi6.