Sen. George LeMieux winds down appointment with focus on job creation, small business lending, exports promotion
During a 16-month term, George LeMieux, who is being replaced in January by newly-elected Marco Rubio, took on the role of one of Florida's two US senators. The seat was vacated by Mel Martinez, who resigned in August 2009.
The freshman senator hit the ground running, helping to pass legislation to jumpstart the economy, traveling to sister countries to strengthen trade ties and promoting job creation at a crucial time for the Sunshine State.
Mr. LeMieux worked on legislation to help control healthcare fraud through a predictive modeling system, similar to what the credit card industry uses, to prevent fraud before it starts.
During his temporary term, job creation has been a priority, as the state's unemployment rate has reached double digits. He says that since stepping in he's set up job fairs around the state that have led to 2,000 jobs.
"People need jobs, and that's what we should be focusing on first," he said.
Mr. LeMieux also co-authored the Small Business Lending Act, a law that is to lower taxes on small businesses to the tune of $12 billion, he said, and provide $30 billion to community banks.
"Not Goldman Sachs, but your banker down the street that you see at church and synagogue or Rotary or Kiwanis, who knows you, who knows your business," he said. "It'll give them loans to give to small businesses, and hopefully we can get these people back to work."
This legislation included the Export Promotion Act, which aims to help train business owners to sell their products overseas.
"We know that when a business can diversify its market overseas," he said, "they are much more resilient in the times of recession."
Senator LeMieux discussed his accomplishments and the governmental challenges faced with Miami Today reporter Yudislaidy Fernandez at his Fort Lauderdale offices.
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