CHICAGO (March 28, 2018)–The chairs of the Black, Latino, Women’s, Veterans and Progressive Reform Caucuses pledged to work in unity to monitor contracting of minority business enterprises at O’Hare International Airport as the City Council prepares to pass the $8.5 billion airport expansion deal on Wednesday.
“We remain troubled by the lack of clear accountability and transparency mechanisms in this deal to ensure that companies owned by minorities are given a fair shot,” said Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36), who chairs both the Latino and Veterans Caucuses. “The Black and Latino Caucus, along with our allies in other caucuses, are completely united on this matter. We’ll monitor this contracting vigilantly to ensure our interests are taken seriously.”
Ald. Villegas and Black Caucus Chair Ald. Roderick T. Sawyer (6) spearheaded the creation of an oversight commission to ensure accountability in minority contracting at O’Hare–but they said more needs to be done.
“The oversight commission will help hold the Emanuel administration’s feet to the fire when it comes to minority contracting at O’Hare, but its existence alone isn’t a panacea,” said Sawyer, whose Black Caucus has 19 members. “We are going to watch every move that the Department of Aviation and the 5th Floor make to ensure that the inequities that have become all too common in our city are addressed.”
“Let there be no doubt–if the O’Hare deal becomes a financial bonanza for the Good Ole Boys Club without mechanisms in place to secure equity for minority and women-owned contractors, we will shut the funding spigot off,” said Ald. Leslie Hairston (5), chair of the Women’s Caucus. “No one should view the next round of funding as a done deal.”
Ald. Scott Waguespack (32) said the 11-member Progressive Reform Caucus which he chairs “stands firmly in support of the demands for fairness and equity voiced by the Black, Latino and Women’s Caucuses.”
“The Progressive Caucus’ mission is to pursue a more just and equal Chicago,” said Waguespack. “This $8.5 billion deal–and future similar major financial deals–absolutely must reflect those principles.”