Richmond, Va. (WTVR) – The Virginia state conference of the NAACP met with Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell this morning in the Patrick Henry Building.
It was the organization’s first quarterly meeting of 2012 and there were a lot of items on NAACP Executive Director King Salim Khalfani’s agenda. The first and most important to him was job creation and the opportunity to develop more jobs.
The NAACP believes there is still a big disparity between the number of contracts awarded by the state and localities to white and black owned businesses. In a study done by the state in 2011, the overwhelming conclusion was that many minority owned firms aren’t provided equal opportunities for contracts and bids.
This morning members of the state chapter of the NAACP said they got a promise from Gov. McDonnell to change that. They told the governor that things haven’t changed much for the better for minority owned contractors since a previous study was done in 2004.
“We work with all the cabinet to try and move these numbers” said Khalfani, “but we continue to be underutilized. And white males are overutilized by the tune of 98% of all contract dollars and that is abysmal. To the governor’s credit, he’s done more than the three previous administrations combined, but it still isn’t enough.”
Gov. McDonnell’s spokesman, Tucker Martin released this statement: “It was a very productive and positive meeting. The governor appreciates these regular opportunities to hear directly from the group about the issues and matters of most concern to them.”
There are other issues the NAACP wants the governor to address, including a rezoning for the Dozier Commercial Park in Prince George County they say could bring in new businesses and create as many as 500 new jobs. They also believe the $800,000 compensation the state legislature is considering awarding Thomas Haynesworth, a black Richmond man who spent nearly 30 years in prison for a crime of rape which he did not commit, is not enough.