Mayors Fulop, Bhalla sign executive orders for LBGTQ, veteran, disability-owned businesses

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Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla met at City Hall in the Mile Square City earlier this afternoon to sign matching executive orders in support of LGBTQ, veteran and disability-owned businesses. 

“We think that people with disabilities deserve the same opportunity for employment, as well as to start their own businesses, and they are underrepresented, and underserved within our state,” Easterseals President and CEO Brian Fitzgerald told Hudson County View.

“LGBTQ communities, people with disabilities, and people that may not have had opportunities in city business or working with the city before – we’re gonna facilitate that a little bit easier now,” Fulop added.

The Jersey City mayor further stated that the executive order seeks to give the aforementioned populations the same opportunities as women- and minority-owned businesses.

“Within any vendor or proposal evaluations (if applicable), the City shall have the option
to include LGBT, Veteran, or Disability Owned certification as a separate criterion used to
evaluate the strength of a proposal or vendor,” the order says.

The weight of this additional certification on any rubrics or evaluations shall not be more than any weights given to MWBE (minority- or women-owned businesses).

In an interview, Bhalla said that the order will “guarantee a level playing field, you will not be subject to discrimination,” a benefit to the community at large, also noting that the executive order goes into effect immediately.

Businesses can receive certification from one of various third parties, indicating that at least 51% of the business is owned by a woman, a racial or ethnic minority, a veteran, a member of the LGBT community, or a person with a disability.

The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) is designated in the executive orders as the third party certifying LGBT-owned businesses.

“This historic precedent will help push the New Jersey State Senate to pass A3162/S1570, which has already passed the Assembly, to include LGBT, disability, and veteran-owned firms into statewide contracts,” NGLCC Co-Founders, President Justin Nelson & CEO Chance Mitchell said in a statement.

“These executive orders also offer other major cities, including nearby New York City, a replicable framework to expand their procurement and economic development programs, which is a win for every community and every economy.”

They added that LGBTQ-owned businesses and companies contribute $1.7 trillion dollars to the national economy.

Disability:IN, designated as the third party certifying businesses owned by people with disabilities, echoed that sentiment.

“People with disabilities are natural innovators and entrepreneurs, and giving them equal access to contracting opportunities will enhance their ability to be self sufficient,” stated Disability:IN President & CEO Jill Houghton.

“Hoboken and Jersey City are diverse cities and with supplier contracts representing the talent and skill of its residents is smart and will lead to greater innovation. We are excited for this momentum to continue to the New Jersey State Senate in passing A3162/S1570.”