On Wednesday, Gov. Robert Bentley signed an Executive Order creating the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs (GOMA). The newly formed office will look into issues facing women and minorities in the state.
Specifically, the office will be tasked with:
- Conduct community outreach throughout the state to assess and address issues facing women and minorities
- Encourage public debate on issues affecting Alabama minority populations, including open access to public services and fair and equitable implementation of public policy Assess efforts by state agencies to assist women and minorities, promoting self-sufficiency through education and training
- Collaborate with business and industry representatives, the Alabama Workforce Council, higher education stakeholders and the Alabama Small Business Commission to facilitate identification of minority and women-owned businesses and to provide recommendations on how to better foster economic development opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses, with the goal of increasing the number of minority and women-owned businesses
- Advise the Governor concerning the coordination and administration of state programs serving minority populations
- Monitor existing legislation and programs designed to meet the needs of minorities Research and analyze all areas affecting the quality of life of minorities
At the helm of the office will be Nichelle Nix, who noted during Wednesday’s press conference that it would be her goal to “ensure fairness and equality.”
“I know we have a challenging road ahead of us,” Nix said. “I am resolute in my efforts to help the Governor… together we will lift every voice in the state of Alabama.”
Most recently Nix has served as an attorney in the Governmental and Regulatory Affairs Division at Maynard, Cooper & Gale, P.C. in Birmingham. She studied Political Science at Spellman College in Atlanta and earned her Master’s Degree in Public Health from Emory University. During the press conference, Bentley praised Nix for being a “great person” with “great credentials” and a vast array of training and experience.
While all of the details are not worked out for funding the office, Bentley noted that it will fall under the governor’s office and be funded from there. Further details will emerge as those involved have a better idea of how many people will be employed by the office.
“Alabama has a unique history in promoting civil rights for minorities, and the courage and boldness of our citizens is a testament to the principles on which our state and country were founded,” Bentley said in a news release. “The newly created Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs will be a great resource and a new perspective on addressing minority and women’s issues. My goal is to make Alabama stronger, and minorities and women are an important component of the Great State 2019 Plan.”