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Fort Bend County Attorney Smith-Lawson Announces Disparity Study Kick-Off

Study Will Assess the Utilization of Minority and Women-Owned Businesses Countywide

What: Disparity Study Press Conference

Who: Bridgette Smith-Lawson, Fort Bend County Attorney; KP George, Fort Bend County Judge; Ken DeMerchant, Fort Bend County Commissioner; Steve Flores, President of the Latino Labor Leadership Council of Southeast Texas; Aftab Pirmohammad, Chairman, Aga Khan, Economic Planning Board for Southwestern US; Jeffrey Labrowski, President Tideland Labor Assembly of the AFL-CIO; Ron Reynolds, State Representative; Mubashir Chaudry, Universal Surgical Partners

When: February 8, 2022, at 10:00 am

Where: 401 Jackson St., Richmond, Texas 77469

(RICHMOND, TX) - Fort Bend County Attorney Bridgette Smith-Lawson, will hold a press conference to announce the start of the Fort Bend County Disparity Study.

The study will document Fort Bend County’s contracting with minority and women-owned businesses between 2017 and 2020 and provide recommendations the County can implement to ensure there is equity in its award of contracts to all Fort Bend businesses.

“We are thankful for our Fort Bend County Commissioners for their visionary leadership in agreeing to this study. I am very excited to kick off this study during Black History Month. This study will identify the policies that are working and those we need to revamp. We expect the study to create better opportunities for women and people of color to do business with Fort Bend County,” said Smith-Lawson.

Fort Bend County has contracted with Mason Tillman Associates, Ltd., a certified African American woman-owned business established in 1978 in Oakland, California. With over 40 years of experience preparing comprehensive and legally sound disparity studies, Mason Tillman has conducted 146 disparity studies for government entities, including 19 studies for counties. The disparity study will analyze the contracting practices of Fort Bend County to determine if woman-owned, minority-owned, small, local, and veteran businesses have equal access to public contracting opportunities.

Fort Bend County is growing exponentially, with a population of approximately 822,000 per the last Census data. With that growth, the County leads the nation in diversity. The 2020 Census data shows Fort Bend County with a population of 30% White, 20% Black, 22% Asian, and 24% Hispanic.

“This disparity study will assess how we’ve done business, who we’ve done business with, and depending on the study results, provide recommendations on including more opportunities for women-owned and minority businesses,” stated Smith-Lawson. “I look forward to serving as the project manager for this study to ensure compliance by all parties in submitting data and complying with the review so that we can have a clear and accurate assessment of how the Count has performed.”


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