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Ice cream & bipartisanship at State of the Union

A pair of business partners from Santa Cruz who started their ice cream shop with a Small Business Administration loan funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act economic stimulus are among those invited to sit with First Lady Michelle Obama at President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address tomorrow night.

From the White House’s advisory:

Business partners Kendra Baker and Zachary Davis had a dream of opening an organic, homemade ice cream shop in Santa Cruz, California, but had trouble finding a lender that would help finance their dream. With the help of a Recovery Act SBA loan of $250,000, Kendra and Zack were able open the doors to The Penny Ice Creamery in August 2010. The SBA Recovery Act funding allowed them to not only open the shop, but also to employ eleven people, purchase American-made equipment, and to hire nearly twenty local businesses to design and renovate the space. Kendra and Zack were so thankful for the financing help, that they posted a video on YouTube thanking the Administration and Members of Congress for their Recovery Act SBA loan. As a result of the video, the Vice President called them in November 2010 to thank them for the video and wish them good luck.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., reports she’ll be sitting tomorrow night with Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., as part of the bipartisan seating initiative – that is, Democrats and Republicans sitting together, rather than “across the aisle,” to present a more united front.

Mica chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, while Boxer chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which has jurisdiction over transportation and infrastructure. With this shared jurisdiction, they’ll most likely be working together a lot this year.

“We both have responsibility for the transportation bill and water infrastructure legislation,” Boxer said. “We have already started working together and we thought it would be nice to sit together to show that there’s not just cooperation between Republicans and Democrats, but also between the House and Senate.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • ralph hoffmann

    John Garamendi or George Miller should sit with Ron Paul and chat about raising gasoline taxes.