Governor Signs Minority Business Order, But Some Say It's All Politics

May 21, 2018

State Senator Kimberly Lightford & other Illinois Legislative Black Caucus members
Credit Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Governor Bruce Rauner has signed an executive order he says will mean more minority-owned businesses will get government contracts. But some are skeptical about his true intentions.

Members of the Legislative Black Caucus say have an idea about the real reason Rauner signed an executive order to collect input from state agencies on how they can better include African American businesses in their contracts. State Senator Mattie Hunter, a Democrat from Chicago, says the order is related to a law she sponsored, and the governor dragged his feet on addressing it.

"It was my legislation that I created that he decided to move on. Did he move on it because this is election time and he needed something to stand on because he hadn't done anything," Hunter postulated at a press conference that came Thursday morning, before Rauner signed the order that afternoon.

Rauner signed it in Chicago with Willie Wilson - a black businessman and candidate for mayor there. Rauner's office says there's been a 15% increase in relationships between state government and black-owned businesses under his watch. Others point to data that shows a drop off in money spent on black vendors.