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Bonamici Highlights First District Business at Technology and Innovation Subcommittee Hearing

May 31, 2012
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-1) discussed the importance of supporting innovation in manufacturing at a Technology and Innovation Subcommittee hearing today.

Last week, Congresswoman Bonamici visited small businesses throughout the First District and saw firsthand the benefits of federal assistance at the Fort George Brewery in Astoria.  

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy,” Congresswoman Bonamici said. “In Oregon, more than 50 percent of all private sector employees work at small businesses. Their continued confidence and success is critical to stabilizing and strengthening our economy.”

Through federal and state assistance, the Fort George Brewery was able to purchase a canning machine for their own product and join a network of other businesses to develop their production techniques and grow their company.

Jack Harris, owner and brewer of the Fort George Brewery, is currently participating in the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program, a federal program that assists local manufacturers in establishing best practices.

MEP is the perfect public-private partnership,” Harris said. “Over the next nine to twelve months I believe it will help us become more efficient, ultimately allowing us to save money, hire more employees, and grow our business.”

Congresswoman Bonamici shared Harris’ story at today’s hearing about the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). “Manufacturing and innovation are directly related to small business job growth and job creation in my district,” Bonamici said. The Congresswoman asked Dr. Patrick Gallagher, the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), how the NNMI will support small businesses.

Dr. Gallagher testified that federally assisted efforts to support manufacturing are critical, and he explained that programs like MEP and the proposed NNMI all foster business partnerships, facilitate workforce development, and ultimately lead to job growth.

A long-time advocate for small businesses, Congresswoman Bonamici will continue to fight for programs that encourage innovation and spur job creation.