New Proposal Aims to Set Aside Arizona Contracts for Veteran-Owned Businesses

Date: February 02, 2016

House Bill 2009 would award 1.5 percent in 2017 and 3 percent in 2018.

New Proposal Aims to Set Aside Arizona Contracts for Veteran-Owned Businesses

Arizona state Rep. Mark Cardenas was moved to action after reading American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History by Chris Kyle.

“(Kyle) said something like, ‘Give (veterans) a hand up and you’ll be amazed at what they can achieve. Just a little opportunity and strategic help,’” Cardenas says.

Cardenas, an Army veteran who served a tour in Iraq from 2006 to 2007, is hoping his legislative proposal will do just that.

House Bill 2009 sets a goal of awarding 1.5 percent of all state contracts to veteran-owned businesses in 2017 and increasing it to 3 percent or more in the following years.

Cardenas has been working with Arizona’s Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses organization to come up with ways to support veterans and keep “Arizona dollars in Arizona.”

”We owe them a bit for their sacrifice,” he says. “I think we have an obligation to make sure we do what we can to support our veterans, especially those who’ve put in their own capital and investments and who want to hire their own people.”

Across Arizona, veteran-owned small businesses do everything from magazine publishing to road maintenance work.

“These are local guys who are reaching out, people who have families here, trying to improve and grow their business,” Cardenas says. “They’ve paid their fair share of taxes. They’re responsible guys looking for an opportunity to succeed.”

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