Legislative Initiatives for 2009 - See Newsletter


The Virginia General Assembly in the 2008 Session approved the $2.2 million budget request from Governor Kaine for the State Department of Minority Business Enterprise (DMBE). This was BSMC’s top legislative priority. Legislative Committee and Executive Board members traveled to Richmond on January 31, 2008 to convey our support for funding for DMBE, meeting with members of House Appropriations, Senate Finance and their staffs on the issue. BSMC Chair Gwendolyn Davis and Anthony Claud discussed issues with the Caucus. Kudos to Anthony in his first appearance before the Caucus for a job well done! A special thanks to Governor Kaine and the Legislature for recognizing the significant contributions made by this agency to minority businesses in the Commonwealth. Following our day at the Capitol, we hosted our annual appreciation dinner for members of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus (VLBC). We know all too well that without their support, we would not have been successful in our efforts. We commend Delegates Dwight Jones, Chairman and Kenneth Melvin, Vice Chairman and Members of the Caucus for their support of issues that impact Minority-Owned Businesses and our communities-at-large.

What’s Next . . . . .

  • The General Assembly will re-convene for the Veto Session on April 23, 2008.
  • The Governor is expected to call a Special Session on Transportation to determine how regional transportation authorities will fund transportation projects.
  • BSMC’s Legislative Committee is gearing up for the 2009 General Assembly Session
  • Members will be working over the next several weeks on issues to improve and provide increased procurement opportunities for Small and Minority Owned Businesses.
  • We will keep you posted.


The Legislative Committee is a group of volunteers who worked diligently to establish the 2008 Legislative Program for BSMC. Members initiated the bill review process, selecting from topic areas the laws of the Commonwealth cover including the State Budget. This was the first opportunity many had to see how changes to state law affect how we operate. Members will present their work at an upcoming Quarterly Networking Meeting. You will be fascinated with their findings.

Lionell Spruill, Jr., Co-Chair
Anthony Claud, Co-Chair
Gwendolyn Davis
Brenda Johnson
Dr. Kenneth Moss
Anthony Reed
Mrs. Lula Holland
Mary Watson
Allon Wright



BSMC hosted its first Quarterly Networking Meeting at the Dochiki Civic & Social Club in Newport News on Saturday, February 2, 2008 from 3-8 p.m. Attended by over 51 business owners and citizens, the event proved to be a huge success.

Samuel Hayes, new Director of DMBE and staff members Lawrence Wright and Jack Howard were also on hand to answer questions about state certification and services provided by their agency. The purpose of this session was to determine what BSMC can do for its membership in terms of training opportunities to promote their success and attract new members to our organization.

Attendees participated in break out groups with similar businesses. Each group had a Lead Facilitator, who did a fantastic job, in the development of an extensive list of topics for future meetings and conferences. Councilman Joseph Whitaker and Ms. Joyce Reavis also worked with citizens that attended to ensure they understand the valuable role they play in our success. We will share the list with our members at the next Quarterly Meeting which is being planned by the Special Events Team.

Thanks Natalynn Roman, Mrs. Tina Harding, Mrs. Lula Holland, Valerie Jones, Rita Parson, Rita Haywood, Deborah Sanders, Darlene Smith, and Jolene Woods for serving as Facilitators and hostesses for this event. A special thanks to Councilman Whitaker, Mr. Benny Steele and the Dochiki Civic & Social Club Membership for allowing our organization to meet at their facility.

Membership has grown from 43 to 185 Minority Business Owners & Citizens today!

Gwendolyn S. Davis, Chair & Executive Director
CEO, OLEGNA Business Solutions

Andrea Cleaves, Vice Chair
Owner & Executive Director, Family Systems II

Michael Goodrich, Treasurer
Owner, Bowers Hill Construction

Betty-Gray-Henson, Secretary
Owner & Executive Director, Alternative Family Treatment Services

Anthony Reed, Chaplin
CEO, Alpha and Omega Enterprises

Waymon Blakeney
Owner, Utopia Enterprises

Michelle T. Deneke
CEO, Truhart Systems International, LLC

Michael Henson, Citizen
Auctioneer & Certified Estate Specialist

Lula Holland, Citizen
Retired Public Servant & Colonel, U.S. Army