Hispanic Lawmakers Unhappy with Charlotte Contracts

Anna Palmer, Politico, August 3, 2012

Hispanic lawmakers are peeved at the Democratic National Convention Committee for not hiring more Latino-owned businesses for next month’s convention.

Upset over the lack of contracts, Hispanic lawmakers exchanged heated words Wednesday with a top DNCC official in a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill. Afterward, Rep. Joe Baca (D-Calif.) suggested that DNCC Chief Executive Steve Kerrigan should be fired if things don’t improve.

If the situation isn’t rectified, “there will be a recommendation that the person who is in charge will not be in charge,” Baca told POLITICO.

The DNCC says it’s made minority contracting a big priority for the Charlotte, N.C., convention, but Hispanic lawmakers believe there should be more Latino-owned businesses getting a cut of the money. It’s unclear how many contracts the DNCC has awarded to minorities because the committee doesn’t publicly release that information.

“Our concern is that we think the numbers could be better,” Rep. Charles Gonzalez (D-Texas), the Congressional Hispanic Caucus chairman, told POLITICO. “We just want to make sure they are aggressively pursuing the goals that we understood were set.”

{snip}

As of last month, the DNCC said that nine of the 14 contracts for large events were awarded to minority or women-owned businesses. The DNCC has previously announced a diversity contracting policy and goal of spending at least one-third of the convention money spent with contracts for businesses owned by minorities, women, people with disabilities, veterans, and lesbian, gay and bisexuals.

DNCC spokeswoman Kristie Greco said they are on their way to meeting their goal for diversity contracting.

“Though we’ve gone to great lengths to attract minority contractors, we are still lagging in some areas and we are working closely with members of the Tri-Caucus to improve in those areas,” Greco said in a statement. {snip}

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