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Firms, state legislators, partners raise awareness on MWBE Coalition Lobby Day

Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte (center, front) on MWBE Lobby Day.
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Brooklyn Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte, State Senator James Sanders, Jr., Assembly Member Crystal Peoples-Stokes, and B. Seth Bryant of Bryant Rabbino LLP were joined by MWBE firms, their colleagues, and allies for an MWBE Coalition Lobby Day on Tuesday, June 7.

Bichotte, who represents the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn, said the day was spent with MWBE firms visiting with State legislators to raise the visibility around key issues and legislation concerning the MWBE community.

“This year marks a significant year for Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) in that we will be learning about the results of both the City and State Disparity Studies,” she said.

“Many MWBEs know qualitatively that disparities still exist as evidenced by support of existing legislation that strives to strengthen previously hard-fought gains to increase utilization goals and increase opportunities for MWBEs,” she added.

Bichotte said many of those issues “have to do with continuing to widen opportunities for MWBE participation and utilization, as well as making the process more transparent and demanding more accountability, and building the capacity of MWBEs to become sustainable and move from being sub-prime to prime contractors.”

The said this legislation has sought to remove barriers by lifting the personal net worth, which will allow businesses to grow, and making it easier to gain access to capital.

“The MWBE program has opened up many doors for minority and women owned businesses in New York, in addition to creating incredible opportunities for the State and City of New York,” said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

“Moving ahead, we look forward to finding ways to improve the program,” he added. “The success of New York depends upon our ability to level the playing field for every hard-working entrepreneur across the state.”

Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, “Investing in MWBEs helps ensure that more New York entrepreneurs are able to unleash their full potential.

“I commend Senate Democratic MWBE Task Force Chair, Senator James Sanders and Assembly Subcommittee on MWBEs Chair, Assemblymember Rodneye Bichotte for their leadership on this important issue. New York must take a leadership role in empowering MBWEs, and my colleagues, and I will make sure that opportunities grow for New York State’s diverse entreprene­urs,” she added.

Bichotte, Chair of the Subcommittee on the Oversight of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises. said: “Today was a momentous day for MWBEs throughout New York State.

“We had a cross section of MWBE firms, State Legislators, and State and City agencies advocating for an increase in participation, transparency, capacity and capital access,” she said. “I look forward to making this even bigger and better next year.”

Updated 3:05 am, July 10, 2018
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Reader feedback

Roger Clegg, Ctr for Equal Opportunity from Falls Church, VA says:
It's good to make sure contracting programs are open to all, that bidding opportunities are widely publicized beforehand, and that no one gets discriminated against because of skin color, national origin, or sex. But that means no preferences because of skin color, etc. either--whether it's labeled a "set-aside," a "quota," or a "goal," since they all end up amounting to the same thing.

Such discrimination is unfair and divisive; it breeds corruption and otherwise costs the taxpayers and businesses money to award a contract to someone other than the lowest bidder; and it's almost always illegal—indeed, unconstitutional—to boot (see 42 U.S.C. section 1981 and this model brief: http://www.pacificlegal.org/document.doc?id=454 ).

Those who insist on engaging in such discrimination deserve to be sued, and they will lose. How would you like it if you owned a company and lost out on a bid because you were the wrong color or the wrong sex? Why do race, ethnicity, and sex need to be considered at all in deciding who gets awarded a contract?
June 12, 2017, 9:07 am

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