LT. GOVERNOR ROBERTS SHARES VISION FOR SMALL BUSINESS ADVOCACY COUNCIL AT FIRST MEETING
Roberts shifts SBAC focus outward, gives small business community a stronger voice in state government
PROVIDENCE—Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts, Chairwoman of the Small Business Advocacy Council (SBAC), announced this morning the creation of the Small Business Health Coordinating Council as part of a broader effort to give the Rhode Island small business community a stronger voice in state government. Meeting at the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation’s new headquarters for SBAC’s first meeting this year, Roberts proposed ways that government can be a partner and a resource, not an obstacle, for small business.
The members of the Small Business Health Coordinating Council will be leaders of organizations dedicated to making healthcare more affordable for small business owners, including the Rhode Island Business Group on Health, The Providence Chamber, the RI Chamber of Commerce Coalition, the Small Business Administration, the Smaller Business Association of New England, and others. The new health group will bring these organizations together to pool resources, leverage knowledge, and advocate with one voice for small business healthcare reform.
“The creation of the Small Business Health Coordinating Council is an exciting collaboration that will make a difference in the lives of Rhode Island small business owners,” Roberts said. “We can accomplish a lot more working together than any of us could accomplish on our own, and I look forward to using both the Small Business Advocacy Council and the Small Business Health Coordinating Council as tools to bring the voices of small business owners into government, using effective advocacy to achieve our goals.”
As chairwoman, Roberts brings to the SBAC years of experience working to make insurance more affordable for small businesses as a state senator. In 2004, she helped create the Office of Health Insurance Commissioner to oversee insurance companies and healthcare costs, and in 2006, she sponsored legislation to create a public/private partnership to reduce the burden of healthcare costs on small businesses.
Today’s meeting also included the formation of a legislative work group that will make recommendations to the SBAC on legislation in the General Assembly as well as advocate for the SBAC’s positions. The SBAC also discussed changing the format of future meetings in order to make the Council more accessible to small business owners.