Sen. Mattier Hunter and Assistant Majority Leader Dave Koehler

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Dave Koehler took the first steps toward a more inclusive business climate in Illinois as the Diversity Task Force on Disadvantaged Business Enterprises, Minority Business Enterprises, and Women Business Enterprises met for the first time yesterday.

Assistant Majority Leader Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) and State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) were appointed to this task force earlier this month.

“I’m honored to have been selected as the chair of this task force composed of a truly remarkable group of people,” Koehler said. “It’s vital that we give opportunities to contribute to our state’s economy, regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexual identity, and I look forward to the progress we will make together.”

“For years I’ve been asking why the state can’t include minorities and women and I always get the same excuses: ‘We’re working on it, it’s difficult to do, we already have established relationships with most of our vendors,” Hunter said. “We need solutions – not excuses – for these failures. We must always look for ways to improve and strengthen our business climate and make it reflective of our current world. I look forward to continue working with this team to find new and creative ways to open doors to success for any Illinoisan who has the talent, drive and passion for their business to succeed.”

The purpose of the task force is to provide opportunities for a diverse array of businesses to receive state contracts. Disadvantaged Business Enterprises, Minority Business Enterprises and Women Business Enterprises are often unable to compete with larger established firms because of capacity issues, lack of access, and available capital resources.

The task force will continue to meet over the course of the next year and submit a final report with recommendations and suggestions to the Senate by July 1, 2020.