By Kevin Miller email@example.com
Washington Bureau Chief
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Her departure is Maine’s second loss in as many months of an influential voice in Washington for small businesses. Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe served as the top Republican on the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee until her retirement last year after 34 years in Congress. Snowe also urged Obama to elevate the position to a Cabinet-level post. Members of Maine’s congressional delegation also praised Mills’ term at the SBA. “Even during these tough economic times for our nation’s small businesses, Karen brought drive, determination, and dedication to her position at SBA,” Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said in a statement. “She clearly understood that small businesses are our nation’s job-creators and they are the backbone of our economy. I wish her all the best.” Sen. Angus King, a Brunswick resident who knows Mills personally, called her a “tireless champion” for small businesses. “Not only has she successfully worked to improve lending and increase capital for startups, but she’s also streamlined application processes and enhanced programs to make them more effective and friendly tools for small businesses,” King said in a statement. “Undoubtedly, her work has been invaluable in strengthening the backbone of our economy – our small businesses – and I both commend and thank her for it.” Mills’ departure also set off a flurry of speculation on Twitter as to whether she might seek elected office in Maine. Her name has occasionally come up as a possible Democratic contender in the 2014 gubernatorial race.
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Karen Mills speaks at the Portland Regional Chamber's Eggs & Issues breakfast in Portland on Jan. 20, 2012.
Gregory Rec / Staff Photographer
PDF: Karen Mills' letter to SBA staff