HONOLULU, HAWAII – The House Republican Caucus is calling upon the State to dedicate 3% of all state purchases, an estimated $33 million per year, to Hawaii-based veteran-owned businesses.
“As a Vietnam-era veteran and businessman, I believe it is time for Hawaii to follow the national example of supporting veteran-owned businesses, ” Republican Minority Leader Rep. Gene Ward stated. It is estimated that one in every seven small business owners nationwide are veterans including 10,300 qualified veteran-owned businesses in Hawaii.
“I have worked with veterans organizations to help provide housing and support for those who defended our nation,” noted Republican Floor Leader Kymberly Pine. “This is an opportunity for us to extend the purchasing preferences Hawaii already has in place to a very worthy group.”
Currently Hawaii provides preferences for small businesses, Hawaii-made products, products with recycled content, and products made by qualified community rehabilitation agencies. This bill would establish a 4.5% preference for a veteran-owned business and a 5% preference if the veteran was serviced-disabled.
Fourteen states already have enacted laws designed to assist veteran-owned firms who seek to provide goods and services to states and local governments. While Hawaii gives consideration to veterans in hiring to fill public service jobs, veterans are not recognized in Hawaii’s procurement laws.
“We are pleased to see Hawaii stepping up to provide opportunities for hard-working business vets who have sacrificed so much for the safety of this country,” noted Dave Bateman, a retired veteran, who serves as the regional advocate for the National Veteran-Owned Businesses Association (NaVOBA). Col. Bateman is the owner of Heavenly Hawaiian, a successful coffee farm on the island of Hawaii. He served on active duty and in the reserves of the United States Air Force.
“The National Veteran-Owned Business Association looks forward to working with the sponsors of this bill and all legislators in Hawaii to ensure its successful passage during the upcoming Hawaii legislative session,” noted Mr. Matthew Pavelek, Communications Director for NaVOBA.
The National Veteran-Owned Business Association focuses on creating growth opportunities for the nation’s 3 million veteran-owned businesses by promoting a “Buy Veteran” message to government, corporate, and consumer buyers. The organization has been instrumental in encouraging states to adopt veteran-owned business incentives throughout the United States.
Submitted by Beth Fukumoto, Director of Minority Research