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Knight Holds Congressional Hearing in Palmdale

Congressman Hears From Small Business Oweners About Challeneges In Federal Contracting

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Washington, April 5, 2016 | Daniel Outlaw (202-225-1956) | comments
(PALMDALE, CA) – Representative Steve Knight (CA-25) conducted a field hearing in the Antelope Valley on Tuesday for the House Small Business Committee to learn about the opportunities and the challenges that small businesses in the region face in doing business with the Department of Defense. 

The hearing, titled “Challenges for Small Defense Contractors,” was requested by Rep. Knight earlier this month to examine and address barriers to entry that small businesses must overcome when seeking to contract with the federal government.  Knight was joined by Rep. David Valadao (CA-21), a key member of the House Appropriations Committee Hanford whose district includes Naval Air Station Lemoore.  

"Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, especially here in the Central Valley. Despite this, it can be difficult for these businesses to compete with larger firms when applying for federal contracts,” said Rep. Valadao. “Today's hearing will help give Valley businesses access to federal contracts, and as a result, will create jobs and strengthen our communities."

According to the Small Business Administration, there are more than 450 small firms in California’s 25th Congressional District, which encompasses the Antelope, Santa Clarita, and Simi Valleys. Last year the Department of Defense spent over $881 million with businesses in the region, including nearly $38 million with local small businesses. Rep. Knight believes there are many more opportunities for small companies to be federal prime and subcontractors, but there are also significant challenges and barriers to entry. 

“Right here in the California’s 25th District, we are in the unique position of having a large presence of defense contractors as well as a large number of small businesses that are seeking government contracts,” stated Rep. Knight in his opening remarks. “I look forward to hearing their ideas and taking their recommendations back to Washington so I can work with my colleagues to make it easier for small firms to enter the defense contracting arena, and ensure a healthy, vibrant defense industrial base.”  

Today’s hearing included remarks from both congressmen as well as testimony from three California small businesses that face challenges in contracting with the government. First, there was Don Rhea, Vice President of Clancy JG International, a firm in Lancaster that provides engineering, professional, and consulting services with demonstrated skills in assembling talented teams to meet contract requirements. Next the Congressman heard from Virginia Villa, a constituent of Rep. Valadao and Owner of West Pacific Electric Company, a company from Lemoore that specializes in all phases of electrical work with a special emphasis on High Voltage. Last to tesitify was Kirk Flittie, General Manager of Unmanned Systems at AeroVironment, Inc., a business in Simi Valley that designs, develops, produces, supports and operates an advanced portfolio of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and electric transportation solutions. All three witnesses spoke about different obstacles they think needs to be addressed by Congress, from issues with intellectual property to various standards that create confusion and unnecessary compliance costs.

“This hearing was an excellent opportunity to hear directly from our local small businesses about the changes that need to happen in Washington, D.C. in order for them to grow and improve our local economy,” said Rep. Knight. “I am thankful for Congressman Valadao and for the witnesses who took time out of their day to work on this important issue. 
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