Power Struggle: Inside the Kaine Administration

It’s not often that the politics of agency appointments find their way into the news, but Daily Press columnist Wil LaVeist has written two fascinating pieces about behind the scenes maneuvering at the Department of Minority Business Enterprise (DMBE).

In his first column, LaVeist wrote of the unceremonious departure of Ed Hamm, DMBE Director in the Warner Administration:

Some black politicians and community advocates in Hampton Roads believe the 60-year-old Hamm, who is CEO of E.L. Hamm & Associates in Virginia Beach, a consulting and engineering company, was disrespected by the “Richmond Connection.”

There’s lots of juicy gossip and speculation.

In a follow-up column, LaVeist puts more pieces of the puzzle together, reporting on possible candidates for the job, including one who was named Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade instead. Instead of the “Richmond Connection,” there is mention of shadowy “Richmond folks.” He criticizes the Kaine Transition team for its handling of the situation.

Why is this important? The state is expending an enormous amount of money and effort as it tries to swing more state contracts toward woman and minority-owned businesses, but results have not been impressive. Incoming Secretary of Administration Viola Baskerville was a huge advocate for more minority contracting when she was in the House of Delegates. Now she is in a position where the problem is her “baby.” Others have also been persistant advocates, including Bacon’s Rebellion‘s own CG2.

Will there be more spending to try and raise minority contracting numbers, or will new leadership try different approaches?

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One response to “Power Struggle: Inside the Kaine Administration”

  1. Jim Hoeft Avatar

    And this is precisely why Ms. Baskerville will face tough questions during her appearance before the General Assembly.

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