Senator John Kerry today called for economic relief for small business owners after an electrical fire in Boston's Back Bay left 21,000 customers without power.
"[Small businesses] have had to close their doors and send their employees home while they wait for power to return," Kerry, the former Chairman of the Small Business Committee, wrote in a letter today to U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills. "The normally bustling Back Bay has been silenced for the last several days as businesses try to get back on track. I respectfully request that the Small Business Administration do everything it can to help these businesses get back on their feet."
The full text of Sen. Kerry's letter is below:
March 15, 2012
The Honorable Karen Mills
US Small Business Administration
409 3rd St, SW
Washington DC 20416
Dear Administrator Mills,
As you may know, an electrical transformer caught fire in the Back Bay section of Boston on Tuesday, March 13th. The fire resulted in a loss of power to thousands of residents and businesses. Initial estimates say that 21,000 customers lost power, and today around 4,000 still remain in the dark. As NStar works to restore power to the city I am writing to see if any assistance can be provided to the many businesses that lost critical revenues during the last several days.
Tourism is a major engine of Boston's economy and springtime is a particularly heavy tourist season. Hotels, restaurants, and stores were either shuttered by the loss of power or employees were forced to try and provide service in the dark. Restaurants and grocery stores raced to try and salvage perishable items, but for many their inventory could not be saved.
Many of those affected were small businesses that don't have the resources to bring in extra staff or purchase a generator. They have had to close their doors and send their employees home while they wait for power to return. Those that were able to open their doors found that the normal flow of business wasn't there, as many Bostonians had to stay home to deal with their own power situation. The normally bustling Back Bay has been silenced for the last several days as businesses try to get back on track.
I respectfully request that the Small Business Administration (SBA) do everything it can to help these businesses get back on their feet and direct the Regional Office, a tremendous resource, to do outreach and provide service to Back Bay businesses. As the former Chairman of the Senate Small Business Committee, I know how invaluable their knowledge and resources can be. Any federal assistance or guidance that could be provided to these small businesses could really help them recover after this unexpected and destructive incident.
I appreciate your consideration and I look forward to working with the SBA to help restore the economic heart of the Back Bay.
John F. Kerry