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National News

Harris, in Durham ahead of Super Tuesday, touts administration’s investments in small and minority-owned businesses

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by Rob Schofield, NC Newsline
March 1, 2024

If, as has long been the common wisdom in American politics, the chief day-to-day duty of the Vice President for their administration is to serve as an energetic champion, defender, and all-purpose political point person, Vice President Kamala Harris did her best to fulfill those roles on Friday during a brief visit to Durham.

Though serving chiefly as the backdrop for an announcement regarding what were described by the White House as the administration’s “historic investments in strengthening entrepreneurship, increasing access to capital, and supporting small businesses throughout the country including in underserved communities,” Harris’s 10th visit to North Carolina since taking office in 2021 came just days before the state’s March 5 Super Tuesday primary election, and included some obvious political overtones.

President Biden is unopposed in the state’s Democratic primary, with “no preference” the only alternative for those who cast a ballot, but lifting enthusiasm for his reelection – especially among Black and progressive voters of the kind who predominate in Durham — is clearly a high priority for his campaign.

Harris, who was greeted at RDU Airport and accompanied to Durham by Gov. Roy Cooper, Congresswoman Valerie Foushee and other local Democratic officials, did her best to promote such enthusiasm. During remarks delivered in Durham’s historic “Black Wall Street” district — an area just east of downtown in which Black-owned businesses enjoyed a period of relative prosperity and stability in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s and that has recently enjoyed a bit of a renaissance – she announced that the administration will, along with private investors, make $92 million in new funding available for women and minority-owned “early-stage start-ups” in North Carolina. She said those funds – which were made available through the Treasury Department’s State Small Business Credit Initiative and the American Rescue Plan — will include funding for businesses that work in technology including, among other things, clean energy, and artificial intelligence.

Harris boasted further that the funding will help to fulfill the administration’s ongoing (and, she said, on-target) pledge to increase federal contracts for minority-owned businesses by 50%. She later made similar comments at Durham’s Provident 1898 shared workspace.

The Vice President’s visit kicked off what promises to be a busy pre-Super Tuesday political weekend in North Carolina. On Saturday, both former President Donald Trump and former South Carolina Governor and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley will be in the state. NC Newsline plans to provide coverage of Trump’s appearance in Greensboro and Haley’s visit to Raleigh.

NC Newsline is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. NC Newsline maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Rob Schofield for questions: Follow NC Newsline on Facebook and Twitter.

This story is republished from NC Newsline under a Creative Commons license. Read the original story.