Baltimore, MD—February 09, 2016—The Maryland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (MDHCC), the leading chamber of commerce representing and connecting over 54,000 Hispanic-owned businesses in the region, held its sixteenth annual Legislative Reception on Thursday, February 4, 2016 at the Maryland House of Delegates in Annapolis, Maryland. Building on relationships that the Chamber has cultivated over the course of its 30 year history, the MDHCC collaborated with partner chambers and the Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs to once again host the Minority Legislative Reception. Unified under one voice, minority chambers presented their legislative priorities to a room full of Maryland delegates, senators and over 150 Maryland business leaders.
“Just 25 years ago Hispanics made up only 2.6% of the population of Maryland,” said Jorge Eduardo Castillo, MDHCC’s Chairman, during his welcoming speech. “Today, our Hispanic population has grown to almost 10%. Legislation that affects Hispanic businesses affects a lot more people now than in years past. It is imperative to continue to work closely with the General Assembly and our Governor to make sure the interests of minority businesses, particularly Hispanic businesses, are represented fairly,” he added.
Key issues this session include corporate income tax reduction, increased quality procurement opportunities in the Small Business Reserve Program, the Small Business Enterprise Program and the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program, and diverse employment in State and local governments in order to match goals in diverse contracting for procurement contracts. The Maryland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s legislative priorities include:
- Supporting a competitive business climate in Maryland, including getting rid of W/MBE sub-goals which negatively affect Hispanic firms and discourage competition among minority contractors
- Encouraging job growth and workforce development in Maryland
- Supporting small businesses
- Representing minorities in state governments
- Funding Minority Chambers of Commerce to support programs that
- help minority businesses grow enough to hire employees
- assist minority companies in obtaining W/MBE certification
In regards to the presentation of these issues, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Montgomery County’s president Daniel Parra aptly concluded, “When legislators and government listen to the needs of their constituents, in this case the business community, everyone is a winner.” The collaboration between the minority chambers and the Governor’s offices was certainly an illustration of the mutual benefits of this event to all involved. As Steven McAdams, Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives, explained, “We are really excited that the chambers are focused on working with us to improve opportunities for Hispanic and other minority-owned businesses.”
Among the distinguished guests who attended the reception were several elected officials, including Congressman Chris Van Hollen and Maryland’s Lt. Governor, Boyd Rutherford, who was the event’s keynote speaker. Also in attendance were Maryland Governor’s Business Ombudsman, Roger Campos; The Chair of the Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs, Allan Gutierrez; Commission Member and Vice President of Governmental and External Affairs, Alex Nuñez of BGE; Vice President of the Southern Maryland Black Chamber of Commerce, Michael Moore; Members of the Board of Directors of the Maryland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Montgomery County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Baltimore Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Southern Maryland Black Chamber of Commerce and the Maryland Hispanic Business Conference; and members of the Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs and the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs
Castillo explains, “We will continue to work with the General Assembly and the Governor in an inclusive manner. The minority partner chambers in the state are all speaking with one united voice to continue to move our businesses and Maryland forward.” The Legislative Reception was sponsored by BGE, a Chairman Circle Level Partner to the MDHCC.
All images courtesy & copyright 2016 Beverlee Barthel Photography and Maryland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. All Rights Reserved