U.S. Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema offered up an update on the state of her district and received an award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce during an event hosted by Rio Salado College on March 21.

Sinema, whose district encompasses Tempe, Chandler, Mesa and Ahwatukee, was given the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Spirit of Enterprise award during the event organized by the Tempe Chamber of Commerce. The award is handed to members of Congress with a voting record that supports the national chamber’s position at least 70 percent of the time, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s website.

The award was presented ahead of Sinema’s second State of the District speech in which she covered topics of note for the district. Tops among the address were issues related to business, as Sinema said the business environment in the state has grown and will continue to do so in the future. A sign she said indicates the improvement is the news of two large-scale companies – Tesla Motors and Google Fiber – that have expressed interest in setting up shop in the state.

Also a focus were businesses much smaller than those two, with Sinema saying bills she supported in Congress could and would have a beneficial effect on local companies. One piece of legislation she cited would support businesses that emphasize alternative energy like Monarch Power, which is based in Scottsdale.

Its companies like those and others rooted in her district, including the East Valley, municipalities that Sinema said have a large effect on employment.

“Ninety percent of the new jobs in our community come from small businesses,” she said.

An issue that’s tied tightly to the business community addressed by Sinema was the Affordable Care Act. That bill could have serious implications for businesses both small and large and for employees, and Sinema said the federal government did an “atrocious job” rolling out the new regulations.

While she said she supported a one-year delay of the implementation, she said the legislation has enough positive aspects, for example extending the time students can stay on their parents’ insurance plan, that the goal should be to eliminate the “real stinkers” in it instead of repealing it wholesale.

Given the split between Democrats and Republicans about the legislation, Sinema said getting politicians to amend it could take a while.

“We won’t see some real change until the heat goes down on this bill,” she said.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-5647 or emungenast@evtrib.com.

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