Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has appointed Assembly Deputy Speaker Earlene Hooper, a Democrat from Hempstead Village, to a new team focused on increasing the participation of minority- and women-owned businesses in state contracting.

"I am passionately disappointed" in the lack of government contracting opportunities for minorities and women, Hooper said Thursday.

The team includes former New York City Comptroller William Thompson, who will be chairman, along with state agency leaders, state Senate and Assembly members, private contractors and businesses, and academic experts.

Hooper said she intends to use the Cuomo initiative to push for changes in the way contracts are awarded by school districts and by universities and health care organizations that get public funding.

"Something has got to change for the better for the constituents, not just of the 18th District, but of Nassau County," Hooper said. "I am going to be much more vigilant" about the contracting and subcontracting process for publicly funded institutions, she added.

Hooper's district includes Hempstead, Uniondale, Roosevelt and parts of Freeport, Lakeview, Merrick, West Hempstead and Baldwin.

Cuomo said he wants to see a 20 percent boost in state contracts awarded to businesses owned by minorities and women.

"We must always look for ways to improve and strengthen our business climate and make it reflective of our current world," Cuomo said in a statement.

His office said barriers to diversity in business ownership and state contract awards include poor access to information and inconsistent and infrequent monitoring and compliance during contract periods.

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