AUGUSTA — President Barack Obama has appointed the majority leader of the Maine Senate to head the northeast regional post of the Small Business Administration.

State Sen. Seth Goodall, D-Richmond, was tapped by the Obama administration Tuesday. Goodall is expected to take the position following the end of the current legislative session. The regional administrator of the Small Business Administration is a high-profile post that has been held by several notable Mainers, including U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and former Republican Secretary of State Charlie Summers.

Goodall will head the Region I office in Boston that oversees all six New England states. The office is designed to provide financial assistance and manage program initiatives for an estimated 1.3 million small businesses in the region.

The post is held by Bob Nelson, the acting regional administrator from Massachusetts.

The post is held by Bob Nelson, the acting regional administrator from Massachusetts.

Goodall, an attorney, has developed a reputation as a compromise agent in the Legislature. He played a prominent role during the 2011 regulatory reform compromise reached by Democrats and the Republican majority in the Legislature. The effort was designed to ease the regulatory burden of Maine businesses. This session he has worked with Republicans on legislation designed to bridge the so-called skills gap between Maine students and the needs of businesses. Goodall has also served on the Legislature’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee.

He was first elected to Senate District 19 in 2008. The district covers several towns in Sagadahoc County, including Bath, Bowdoinham, Topsham and Richmond. Since then, Goodall has become an adept fundraiser for the party. His political action committee, Strengthening Maine, has garnered more than $95,000 in contributions since 2009, according to filings from the Maine Ethics Commission. The contributions are from a broad array of business interests, including energy, pharmaceutical and legal industries.

Goodall has used his leadership PAC to help elect other Democratic candidates.

He has served on the Maine Economic Growth Council since 2009.

“As an attorney and public servant, Seth has worked with small businesses in the New England region throughout his career,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills of Brunswick. “I am pleased that, as Region I administrator, he will be able to draw on his experiences as a small business owner, as well as his expertise garnered from extensive experience in the public and private sectors, to help entrepreneurs across the region start, grow and succeed.”

Goodall previously co-owned a full-service landscaping company from 1992 to 1999. The company now employs nearly 30 seasonal and 15 year-round employees.

“It is an incredible honor to serve the Obama administration and work with administrator Mills on growing and strengthening small business. I have a deep appreciation and understanding for the role small business plays in our economy and our communities,” said Goodall. “I look forward to sharing my commitment and utilizing my experience to help the SBA to create jobs and bolster our economy in New England.”

Goodall declined to address specific initiatives he hoped to pursue at the SBA, but said legislative efforts to address workforce needs dovetailed with the mission of the organization.

“It’s an opportunity to continue the work that I’ve been doing for a long time,” he said. “Obviously some of these components I’d be prepared to discuss in greater length once I arrive at SBA and obviously the SBA is concerned about issues like workforce development, providing microloans, access to capital and allowing businesses to grow and expand in national and international markets.”

Broadening international markets for American businesses has become a goal for the SBA. In January 2010, the president announced the goal of doubling U.S. exports over five years through the Small Business Jobs Act. According to a January report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, efforts to help domestic businesses export their services or products have been impeded by overlap between agencies that the SBA coordinates with and inadequate staffing and training.

The Obama administration has allocated $810 million to the Small Business Administration for fiscal year 2014, a $109 million decrease from the agency’s 2012 funding. The administration also supports $27 billion in loan guarantees for business start-ups and over $1 billion in disaster assistance loans for businesses.

Goodall was nominated by U.S. Reps. Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree for the administrator post in April 2012 following the promotion of Jeanne Hulit. Nelson is the acting administrator for the region.

Goodall has a law degree from the University of Maine School of Law in Portland, and a master’s degree in plant science and a bachelor’s degree in agronomy from the University of Connecticut in Storrs.

Goodall is expected to resign his Senate seat at the conclusion of the current legislative session. Democrats have the majority in the 35-member Senate with 19 seats. There are 15 Republicans and one independent.

Goodall’s resignation means there will be a special election to fill his seat. Secretary of State Matt Dunlap will announce the special election at a later date.

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