Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte and Senator James Sanders, Jr. Co-Host MWBEs and Other Legislators Who Spoke Out to Reauthorize a Stronger Article 15-A on MWBE Coalition Day

Albany, NY – On March, 13th, Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) came to Albany and crowded inside the New York State's Capitol to speak on reauthorizing the MWBE program, Article 15-A, and reform issues in New York State's 2019 budget.

Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte hosted the Coalition Lobby Day for Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) alongside Senator James Sanders, Jr. -- each as the chair of their respective house subcommittees on MWBE oversight. They gathered information and heard testimony regarding improvement of FY-19 budget provisions and legislation. The event united stakeholders to provide insight for strong MWBE programs throughout the city and state. Many supported topics were discussed including the elimination of the personal net worth cap as proposed in the Assembly Budget Resolution, compliance with existing rules and regulations, and talking about the success of existing programs.

The stakes are very high this year. Although the Assembly has consistently supported strengthening MWBEs, the Senate has made the decision to omit the reauthorization of Article 15-A from their Senate Budget resolution - Part Q. Part Q is the section of the Budget Bill that includes the Article 15-A Proposal.

Click here for the Executive Proposal on Article 15-A Part Q

Click here for the Assembly Proposal on Article 15-A Part Q

Click here for the Senate Proposal on Article 15-A Part Q (omitted)

"We are here today with an incredible opportunity to reauthorize Article 15-A and make improvements to the Program," said Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte, Chair of the Subcommittee on Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs). "The clock is ticking and it's important to ensure a diverse business environment in New York State to maintain the integrity of our State's commitment to economic inclusion and advancement. It's about time we make a sweeping effort to close the disparity gap. Let's build the America that we have dreamed of and make economic inclusion real."

"Never before has the need to lobby over MWBEs been more apparent with the reauthorization of Article 15-A looming over our heads," said Senator James Sanders, Jr. "The MWBE community is showing great maturity by lobbying for its needs. Albany itself is a place where the squeaky wheel gets the grease. By that, I mean if you're not fighting for your interest you're probably going to go home hungry. I want to thank my colleague in this fight for justice, Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte, my illustrious public officials such as Assemblymember Crystal Peoples-Stokes and others. But the real heroes are those intrepid souls who trekked to Albany in the pursuit of justice."

"The reauthorization of Article 15-A needs to be done," said Senator Kevin Parker. "President Dwight Eisenhower said that 'the business of government is business' and we are saying that these businesses should be open for everyone in the state including African Americans, Latinos, Asians and women. We need to reauthorize Article 15-A and put enough resources in the state agencies to actually implement a more robust program. We are letting everyone know that this is a serious matter to us and we are going to fight to make sure that we have a leveled and even playing field."

"I was honored to participate in the Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise Coalition Day in Albany as we continue to provide access to counseling, capital and contracting to our MWBEs in New York and around the country," said Assemblymember Michael Blake. "We support State Senator James Sanders, Jr. and Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte for demanding equity, including pushing to eliminate the net worth threshold to certify MWBEs and substantially increase MWBE standards on all projects, so that your block won't block your blessing, your zip code won't deny your destiny. By creating jobs and opportunities we continue #BuildingABetterBronx."

"We are not asking for the world, we are asking for our fair share; what our businesses can produce; what they can accomplish. Give us a chance and we'll show you how great we are," said Senator Jamaal Bailey.

"I am always going to be here no matter what I have to vote on or do. It is important that the members of the Senate and the Assembly make this issue a priority and commit to this until our dying breath, otherwise, what are we here for?" said Senator Brian Benjamin.

"New York State's economy can only grow when we break down barriers and provide parity to women and minority entrepreneurs," said Assistant Speaker Felix Ortiz. "Our economy is strongest when it is accessible and diverse. As Maya Angelou said, 'If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain'."

"Without business growth in our community and guaranteed contracts, there will simply not be the economic equity that will provide economic sustainability for our future," said Assemblywoman Diana C. Richardson. "We have not met the thirty percent threshold and we need to do better. Re-authorizing Article 15-A must be a guarantee."

"My greatest concern is black contractors. We need to make sure MWBEs get more black contractors, this will address unemployment and poverty in our black communities," said Assemblyman Charles Barron.

"I stand in support of Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte and Senator James Sanders, Jr.'s efforts to promote MWBE businesses in New York State. It is important for the state to help build capacity and wealth in minority communities. We will continue to fight so that MWBE businesses get their fair share," said Assemblymember Clyde Vanel.

"Today was a day of empowerment through partnership," said Reverend Jacques Andre DeGraff. "We came to the Capitol to seek the enactment of a meaningful MWBE program that will justify our investment in these elected officials and our collective policies. In short, we want the opportunity to create jobs and wealth in our communities as others have with the support of government policies. These are business goals that are not social in intent but rather have lasting economic impact."

"The MWBE Coalition Day is important because laws impact all of us," said Rebecca Rodriguez, CEO of EOS Strategies. "Being able to speak directly as a business community with our Senators and Members of the Assembly is empowering. It gives us an opportunity to directly serve as advocates for our best interest."

"Women Builders Council (WBC) would like to thank Assemblywoman Bichotte and Governor Cuomo for their tireless support of the reauthorization of Article 15-A," said Deborah Bradley, President of WBC and Deborah Bradley Construction and Management Services, Inc. "As an organization whose mission it is to increase the role of women and diversity in the construction industry, we understand the importance of the New York State Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE) program. Economic empowerment leads to equality and New York State must continue its efforts to create a more inclusive and diverse construction industry by reauthorizing Article 15-A."