Remembering Joe Sobota

Last November, Office of Advocacy (Advocacy) Assistant Chief Counsel Joseph “Joe” Sobota passed away. A man of service, the work Joe pioneered in disaster relief and veteran ownership throughout his lifetime reflects his love for others and the American small business community.

Joe began his career in the U.S. Small Business Administration, where he worked on disaster operations. He quickly moved to Capitol Hill, where he had a wide range of responsibilities and served on the staff of the U.S. House Committee on Small Business for sixteen years. Joe served under four committee chairmen in multiple roles. Most notably, he was the Committee’s expert on disaster relief for small businesses and liaison between authorizing and appropriating committees. Joe also helped Congress develop what became SBA’s Disaster Assistance Division.

In 1998, Joe left the Hill for the Office of Advocacy, where he worked as Advocacy’s veterans’ affairs expert and further cemented his legacy as support to populations that need it most. Joe also maintained Advocacy’s budget documents and conducted legal research. Most notably, Joe prepared and wrote Advocacy’s Veteran Data Business research report in 2017, still used today. In addition, Joe served as the office historian, writing a background paper on the office and serving as an invaluable resource on the history of Advocacy.

Beyond his professional work, Joe was a beloved colleague. Unfailingly kind and caring, his Advocacy colleagues frequently remembered chatting with him about music, his family, or his love of outdoor activities like hiking. Shenandoah was one of his favorite places to visit, and Advocacy staff fondly recall how Joe would help them plan trips to national parks, or how he would discuss his love of nature. He also shared his love of opera with his colleagues, playing it in his office. He enthusiastically discussed the upcoming Kennedy Center schedule with other music fans in the office. Joe was also a storyteller who would reminisce about his time on the Hill, or his many passions outside work, and every Advocacy staffer who worked with him has a favorite story.

Joe was an exemplary public servant, dedicating himself to American small businesses. He will be deeply missed by his friends and colleagues at Advocacy, who continue to carry his mission onward inspired by the path he forged.

A remembrance for Joe was entered into the Congressional Record by Rep. Nydia M. Velasquez, ranking member of the House Committee on Small Business. Advocacy would like to thank the Ranking Member for her kindness in honoring our friend and colleague.