Governor Deval Patrick today signed an executive order to help small businesses owned by disabled veterans increase access to contracts for public projects in the areas of construction, design and goods and services procurement.
Governor Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray were joined by Secretary of Veterans' Services Coleman Nee, Secretary of Administration and Finance Glen Shor, Secretary of Education Matthew Malone, members of the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs, the Veterans Business Council and other veteran service organizations for the signing.
"Massachusetts leads the nation in veterans' benefits and services," said Governor Patrick. "This executive order will ensure our service-disabled veteran business owners are afforded every opportunity to succeed and grow in the Commonwealth."
"We have a moral obligation to do what we can to support our veterans who have sacrificed so much for our country," said Lieutenant Governor Murray, Chair of the Governor's Advisory Council on Veterans' Services. "As we continue to provide services for all veterans, we hope this executive order will serve as an effective tool to help service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses navigate through various business resources and thrive here in Massachusetts."
The executive order directs the Executive Office of Administration and Finance (A&F) to define program requirements and guidelines. A&F will then implement a participation goal requirement for service disabled veteran-owned small businesses to gain access to contracts for public projects in the areas of construction, design, and goods and services procurement. A&F will also establish a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Enterprise Program to oversee the inclusion of business enterprises owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans in all areas of state procurement contracting.
"The Patrick-Murray Administration has once again stepped to the plate to support our disabled veterans," said Secretary Nee. "This is a win on so many levels. Disabled veteran owned businesses will see immediate opportunities, our returning disabled veterans will have access to more jobs, and the Commonwealth will see increased competition leading to reduced costs."
"The Patrick-Murray Administration has worked to support and expand opportunities for small, women and minority-owned businesses," said Secretary Shor. "I am pleased that today we are able to build on those efforts by enhancing economic opportunities for businesses owned by service-disabled veterans to ensure they have the proper tools so they can grow here in the Commonwealth."
In "An Act Relative to Veterans' Access Livelihood, Opportunity, and Resources" (The VALOR Act), which Governor Patrick signed last year, provides greater assistance to help veteran-owned small business participate in public projects. A&F's implementation of the executive order will help create jobs and reduce veteran unemployment.
"Governor Patrick's issuance of an Executive Order establishing an SDVOSB program for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts should be applauded and recognized by all," said Veterans Business Council President Arthur N. Mabbett. "Massachusetts has always been a leader in recognizing its veterans and their commitment to our great nation and the defense of peace and freedom everywhere. This new SDVOSB program will afford enhanced opportunities for all honorably discharged SDVs to compete for contract opportunities with the Commonwealth. In doing so, we further honor and recognize these veteran's service to our country and provide enhanced business and job creation opportunities for disabled veterans. By providing opportunities, new businesses can be created, existing businesses can grow and jobs can be added to the Commonwealth's workforce. The VBC applauds the Governor and his Administration for their leadership regarding this vital matter. Massachusetts now joins 15 other states and the federal government in establishing a SDVOSB Program."
"I want to applaud the Patrick-Murray Administration for continuing to provide enhanced opportunities for our veterans," said Senator Mike Rush, co-chair of the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs. "This executive order will have positive impacts on the Commonwealth in the areas of job creation and cost savings through competition. This no-cost, job creation measure will help grow service-disabled, veteran-owned businesses which will undoubtedly assist in reducing the number of unemployed veterans in our state."
"Thanks to the efforts of the Patrick-Murray Administration, opportunities for veterans continue to grow and improve," said Representative Carlo Basile, co-chair of the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs. "By providing more supportive measures to service disabled, veteran owned businesses we are helping to decrease unemployment for our veterans, allow positive job growth for the Commonwealth, and support small businesses at no cost to the taxpayer."
"Veterans undergo vigorous training and education during their military careers, so this executive order provides an opportunity to bring that unique skill set to assist the Commonwealth in government contracts," said Representative Jerald Parisella, vice-chair of the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs. "This action will not only benefit those veterans who have served the United States honorably, but be an asset to Massachusetts by having highly-motivated, disciplined individuals participate in programs that will benefit the citizens of the entire state."
"Ensuring that our disabled veterans have every opportunity to start a small business, indeed to engage in every aspect of our communities, must be one of government's top priorities," said Senator Dan Wolf, a member of the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs. "I commend our administration for finding one more creative avenue to help make that possible."
"It is a priority for us to assist our veteran business owners," said Representative Claire Cronin, a member of the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs.
There are 124 service-disabled veteran-owned businesses certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs located in Massachusetts. More than 385,000 veterans currently live in Massachusetts, including over 42,000 men and women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11. The Patrick-Murray Administration has worked to ensure newly returning veterans, as well as Massachusetts' aging veteran population, continue to receive quality health, education benefits, housing and employment services to honor their service.