It’s irresponsible for public officials to sit back and watch a bad situation get worse.

That’s why, this week, I am helping reform the red tape surrounding our Maine credit unions, community banks, and other lenders; red tape that harms Maine jobs.

During my three-plus decades of working in the private sector creating jobs, I learned how important it is to be able to borrow money to start or grow a business, hire more workers, and pay them more. Maine is home to thousands of exciting small businesses. They’re the lifeblood of our economy. Most of our fellow Mainers are employed by small businesses.

Nearly 100 credit unions and community banks dot the Maine economic landscape. They employ thousands of our fellow Mainers with good jobs and benefits. These small financial institutions are central to our Main Streets and futures. They safely take in customer deposits and pay interest, although stingy in today’s ultra-low interest rate environment. Then, they lend money to families to buy a new home or bigger pickup truck, or to start or expand a business.

Our economy grows only when there is investment. There’s investment when money, or credit, is available. In Maine, our friendly credit unions and community banks help fill this crucial funding role.

Our small town insurance agencies and retirement advisors also serve us well. Insurance professionals provide coverage against financial losses to our homes, automobiles, and business if something happens. Pension advisors help us save and prepare for the golden years. While doing so, they enjoy thousands of good-paying career jobs in Maine.

Our small credit unions, community banks, insurance agencies, retirement advisors, and auto dealers didn’t cause the Great Recession. They didn’t risk your money in exotic financial instruments that collapsed when the real estate market did. They didn’t cause the financial pain suffered by tens of thousands of our neighbors, friends, and family members.

It should be no surprise that Washington regulators overreached in response to the real estate meltdown and resulting recession. They should have targeted for closer supervision a dozen or so huge Wall Street banks and financial companies with tentacles extending throughout our economy. Instead, the bureaucrats cast their nets far and wide and caught our small Maine financial institutions in their suffocating regulations.

Traveling across Maine, loan officers at credit unions and small banks tell me they spend too much time and money filling out complex and unnecessary paperwork, and too little time approving loans to families and small businesses. Insurance agents and retirement advisors can’t provide the financial security and peace of mind to their small town savors because of costly red tape. Car dealers shy away from extending credit for fear of being accused of discriminating against one type of buyer or another.

It goes on and on…

These smothering regulations hurt business investment, economic growth, job creation, and financial independence for our families.

This isn’t fair, and it’s not right. Government’s job is to help our families, not hurt them.

That’s why this week in Congress I am voting for the Financial CHOICE Act.

The CHOICE Act keeps in place important regulations that oversee behemoth Wall Street banks to reduce their risk to the economy. At the same time, it removes expensive and redundant red tape for credit unions, community banks, small insurance companies, retirement advisors, and auto dealers so the economy can grow and create more jobs.

The CHOICE Act reforms hold accountable Wall Street and other players in the financial services industry for improper behavior. It imposes the most severe financial and criminal penalties for fraud, theft, and similar actions ever in our nation’s history.

The CHOICE Act retains strong protections for consumers who buy financial products.

And, very importantly, it puts an end once and for all to taxpayer bailouts for Wall Street banks who take on too much risk and lose.

Of course, once again there are strong, well-funded special interest groups trying to paint a picture that just isn’t true about this issue. Their message is dishonest to Mainers. The red tape in the previous law, on balance, hurts our families and communities. That is why I am taking action so Maine businesses can grow jobs, community banks and credit unions can provide support, and our Maine families can prosper.

This is all about growing our economy, improving our communities and creating jobs. Small businesses must be able to grow. Those who break the law must be held accountable. The safeguards and regulations for consumers must be strong, effective and fair. The CHOICE Act will benefit Maine and help our small businesses.

Bruce Poliquin, a Republican, represents Maine’s Second Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.