"Okay. Hi, everyone.
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Hi, Administrator. Please come, please come. And where is the congressman?
So, today, we honor our small businesses.
And it has been a passion of mine for many, many years to support these leaders.
You know, our business leaders are -- they're -- they're community leaders, they're civic leaders, they hire locally, they mentor. And this business is no -- no different than those who are family-owned, multigenerational -- who are invested in the community and the community counts on.
And so, we're here to honor the work that's happening, understanding also that our small businesses in the United States actually employ almost half of the workforce that is not in -- in public work in the government.
So, we're talking about a gigantic, huge workforce that is contributing to the economy, paying taxes, and doing the work that is about strengthening our economy and, by extension, our country.
So, it's good to be here to honor them.
Administrator Guzman, our great Ted Lieu, who have both -- in their past, they've been doing extraordinary work through the SBA, facilitating loans in an extraordinary way in terms of historically what has happened and now what is happening in terms of the outreach and implementation of (inaudible) policies.
And the congressman has been an extraordinary leader in California and national leader for many years (inaudible).
So, it's good to be here.
I'll also speak to the hostage issue and the crisis. We are extremely grateful that hostages were released yesterday. And we are looking forward to, again, another group being released today.
There were some issues and challenges around implementation. President Biden spoke with the Amir to resolve those issues, and we do believe they are being resolved.
But this -- this moment of pause is extraordinarily important. It's important to get humanitarian aid in; it is also important to ensure that hostages can come out.
So, we're going to continue to be diligent and vigilant in doing all that we can in that regard to ensure that there is humanitarian aid going in, that hostages are going out. And our highest priority, of course, are the American citizens who are being held.
So, thank you.
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