Governor Hochul: “And I believe in this, so intrinsically. It’s part of who I am. It’s part of who I am as a woman and as a person who helps start woman-owned businesses for my mother and my sister. I know the challenges that you have to endure. And I also know that there are extreme disadvantages that women and minority owned businesses encounter just getting off the ground — the access to capital, to get other people to believe in your success, to believe you could actually make an idea become a reality. And I’m so excited to be able to help you overcome those barriers.”
Wednesday, December 15th, Governor Hochul delivered remarks at the Eleventh Annual Minority-and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Forum.
AUDIO of the event is available here.
A rush transcript of the Governor’s remarks are available below:
Thank you everyone. It is so great to be here in person. Sorry, livestream people, we know there’s a lot of you out there, but this is where the action is tonight. Catch it next year in person, hopefully. So, I am so honored to be here, first of all as your governor, and delighted to be part of the 11th annual celebration of MWBEs.
As Lieutenant Governor, I don’t think I missed a single occurrence. I was at all, probably eight of them, while I was Lieutenant Governors, so I’m really proud to be here now to represent the entire state of New York and say, we need you to succeed. And as go, the MWBE’s of the state New York, so goes the rest of our state.
And I believe in this, so intrinsically. It’s part of who I am. It’s part of who I am as a woman and as a person who helps start woman owned businesses for my mother and my sister. I know the challenges that you have to endure. And I also know that there are extreme disadvantages that women and minority owned businesses encounter just getting off the ground — the access to capital, to get other people to believe in your success, to believe you could actually make an idea become a reality.
And I’m so excited to be able to help you overcome those barriers. And we have a dynamic team. I’m really proud of my administration – just over 100 days ago, we didn’t have an administration. So, I’ve been able to track some really talented individuals to come to public service or to continue in public service.
And I want to acknowledge some of them right now. And first of all, I want to thank. Cathleen Trigg-Jones, the founder of iWomanTV for adding the star power to this event. Thank you for the introduction. But in the audience today, we have some incredible public servants and I want to start with the Secretary to the Governor, if you do not know Karen Persichilli Keogh, you need to get to know her right now. I can’t see how – you all look kind of dark to me. Karen, are you out there? Are you out there? Okay she’s not over at the bar, right? She’s right there, okay, I see Karen.
Liz Fine, the Counsel to the Governor. Liz, are you in the house? There you are. Julissa Gutierrez the Chief Diversity Officer for the State of New York, thank you for all your great service. Hope Knight, the Acting, soon to be not acting anymore, President and CEO of Empire State Development, Hope Knight. Jerome DuVal, Executive VP, Division of MWBE businesses. We’ve worked together a long time, Jerome, I want to thank you for all you do, incredible leader.
Tracey Mitchell who makes sure it’s all done, right. So make sure you make Tracey happy. The Director of Special Projects for MWBEs as well. Another friend of mine is in the audience, and I want to give a special shout out to our lifetime achievement award winner, Ruth Hassell-Thompson, our special advisor for Homes and Community Renewal, we’ve worked together since 2014. We’ve been close partners to continue to make sure that everyone has access to a wonderful home.
Sandra Rivera, our senior advisor for legislative affairs as well. Many individuals were also here earlier so let’s get them a collective round of applause because they all work so incredibly hard every single day.
You know Cathleen mentioned, and you don’t need a reminder, of the challenges all of you had to come through during the pandemic in particular. And I also know that many of you subscribe to the same philosophy that I do: if it doesn’t kill you it makes you stronger, so incredibly strong.
And I had the opportunity during the pandemic to go see many of your businesses and walk the factory floors or the small shops across the state. And just to just say, “Hang in there a little bit longer. I know you’ve worked so hard to get here in the first place, just hang on because I know better days, lie ahead.”
And while we’re not through this pandemic just yet, and I think everyone who’s doing the responsible thing, not just for themselves, but their coworkers, their customers, their friends, and their families, by getting vaccinated, getting the booster shot, please get boosted, we need that extra layer of protection and those who are wearing the mask, I thank you. I don’t take this for granted. I thank you for being so supportive of our effort to make sure that we, number one, protect the health of New Yorkers. But number two, we protect the health of our economy. We cannot sustain any more setbacks. I want to make sure we just launch into this post pandemic world with optimism and confidence, and continued support for MWBEs.
So, we already have 9,000 certified MWBEs in this state, I think you can do a little better than that. Should raise that number a little bit higher. We could do more than 90,000. Let’s bring more to the party. And I remember when I first started giving speeches as Lieutenant Governor, we brag about the fact that we had $2 billion of contracts awarded to MWBEs. Well guess what? We cracked $3 billion of the contracts to MWBEs just the last couple of years alone and that’s during a pandemic! And we’re going to continue. We’re just getting started this morning. I was at JFK announcing that we’re going to continue on with Terminal One, 5,000 new jobs, 30% MWBEs. We’re going to keep that going.
Same with the LaGuardia Airport, over $2 billion in contracts, awarded there to MWBEs and as you may have heard. We surpassed our nation leading goal of 30% utilization. We’re at 30.5%, I believe it is. Yes, we did it. We did it together. Yes.
And I’m not tipping my hand here yet. We’re going to go and better than that, we’re going to keep that number increasing, because I want to make sure that everyone understands that we have to support and give the chance for an opportunity to open the doors for so many more businesses. And that is what’s going to make us a stronger state as we emerge going forth. So I want to thank everyone who’s participating. I know you’re in conferences and round tables and conversations throughout the day. There are new opportunities, I know you heard from some people from our Office of Cannabis, and that’s going to be a whole game changer for particularly minority communities that have suffered so much for decades of indiscriminate persecution, I’ll call it, some call it the prosecution. I call it persecution. And we’re going to give an opportunity for so many more people to participate in this new emerging industry. So are we ready to launch into 2022, and meet new goals and exceed them? Yes we are. Yes, we are. Thank you to everyone involved. Look forward to your success, because your success is our success. Thank you very much.