Cantwell calls aerospace, small business crucial

EVERETT — Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., laid out a route for Washington state’s economic recovery Friday and said it’s marked with two important signposts: small-business stimulus and aerospace investment.

Cantwell addressed business leaders at an Everett Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon June 3. She said she has two priorities: getting community banks lending to small businesses and keeping the aerospace industry competitive.

Both issues hit close to home for Snohomish County businesses. Two community banking companies — Frontier Financial Corp. and City Bank — were shuttered and sold by order of regulators to other banks this spring.

Meanwhile, the Boeing Co. continues to war with Airbus and other aerospace companies, and losing that war could result in lost jobs for local engineers and technicians.

“We have a challenging economy — no doubt about it,” Cantwell said.

She urged the federal government to help community banks invest in small businesses, a prospect that has grown more difficult since regulators placed more stringent requirements on bank investments.

That dynamic between capital requirements and small-business lending is “our continual challenge,” said Cantwell.

She said small banks tend to be overshadowed by financial giants, many of whom are under harsh pressure to increase small-business investment after taking government bailouts.

“If we are going to help protect business here in this state, we need to make sure there is an equal investment into community banks,” she said.

She also reiterated her stance on Airbus, which the World Trade Organization recently said has been improperly subsidized by the European Union.

“It distorts what true competition is,” she said.

Read Amy Rolph’s small-business blog at www.heraldnet.com/TheStorefront. Contact her at 425-339-3029 or arolph@heraldnet.com.

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