Tag Archive: obama


 

        The Democrats are rolling out a new website called “protecting the vote.” This will be a comprehensive effort to educate voters about their rights and the new law enacted by the different states impacting voting.

There are now 29 Republican governors in the United States in 2011, and this gives the Republican Party an advantage in changing and creating laws. The major goal in the 2012 election for the Republican Party is to make President Obama a one term president. The Republican governors and legislators are using the legal system to restrict or limit voter’s ability to cast their ballots.

The Republicans are claiming that in 2008, there was major voter fraud and it is necessary to prevent this practice with tougher voter regulations. In 30 states across the country, Republican governors have enacted strict photo ID requirements, and reduced the availability of early voting. They are also making it harder to register new voters, and challenge the citizenship of eligible voters.

There is a full-scale attack on the right to vote, and millions of ex-offenders across the country are finding that their civil rights are not being restored, keeping them from voting. In the 2008 presidential election there were more citizens voting in the history of the country. There were 62% of all eligible voters voting, and that was the highest turnout rate in the past century.

The electorate was the most demographically diverse in United States’ history of voting. The great expansion of voters was in the increase of young voters, Hispanics, African-Americans, and Asian-Americans, which signaled the importance of the Voting Rights laws. America was moving toward a more democratic country, where more Americans were included in the political process.

In 2008, nearly 40 million Americans cast ballots early or through the absentee voting process. Over 1 million voters registered on Election Day, and Americans from groups traditionally underrepresented at the ballot box participated in record numbers. The 2008 electorate was the largest and most racially and ethnically diverse in the history of the United States.

But in the last three years the Republicans are trying to turn back the hands of the clock. The Republicans have strategically decided to organize a movement to make voting more restrictive. They have researched and studied the profile of a Democrat and President Obama supporter, and their goal is to suppress the vote.

The Republicans are aware that they have a better chance of beating President Obama if there are less eligible Democratic voters. Winning an election is a numbers game, and beating President Obama will be determined by which party has the most voters at the polls.

In the coming months, the Republicans will come up with new ideas to further their movement to restrict and suppress voting rights. By restricting different stages of the voting process, each measure is designed to cut eligible voters from the electorate. Each new suppression or restrictive law narrows the American electorate, and benefits the Republican candidate.

The progress in the last presidential election can be reversed if the Democrats are not vigilant in protecting the right to vote. It is important to be informed with the new voting rights laws in your state, and continue to register new voters. President Obama is on the threshold to win his second term in office.

Legally, it is important to challenge illegal laws and tricks, when it comes to voting rights. If Democrats do not mobilize, organize, and get more citizens registered to vote, we will be defeated in 2012. The power of the vote is in our hands, and we have the opportunity to win.

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President Obama and congressional leaders traded blame on who is at fault for not reaching a deficit reduction deal. Many political pundits and experts believed that the super committee from its very conception was doomed to fail. They didn’t think that the two parties are able to work together in this Congress, and reach a compromise and agreement.

The American citizen feels that there is no leadership from either party, and the economy is in a precarious situation. As the two parties draw a line in the sand, we can expect more fighting and more finger-pointing. In 2012, the fight will be over job creation, healthcare, immigration, taxes, military spending, housing market, debt, and the deficit.

It appears the more the two parties fight, both sides think they will win, and benefit politically and substantively. They would rather fight and look foolish to the world, and the American people. The nature of democracy is to compromise, but in our Congress in 2011, the nature of the legislators is to remain stubborn.

The co-chairs of the bipartisan special joint committee said in a statement that, “after months of hard work and intense deliberations, we have come to the conclusion today that it will not be possible to make any bipartisan agreement available to the public before the committee’s deadline.”

This was a very difficult task but I was speculating that this committee would be successful. This super committee was charged with the responsibility to find $1.2 trillion in spending reductions and deficit reductions measures.  There were 6 members from each party and together they would agree on cuts and negotiate a plan to present to the public and Congress.

Many believe at the center of this dispute is a conservative activist Grover Norquist, and author of a popular GOP campaign pledge never to raise taxes. There are many Republicans across the country and in Congress, who have taken the pledge and refuse to raise taxes. He is also the head of a conservative group, Americans for Tax Reform, and many Republicans refuse to disagree with this organization.

There are 95% of Republicans in the Senate and House, who have signed the pledge. This pledge is a sacred covenant for virtually anyone wishing to run as a Republican, and it is a clearinghouse for conservative ideas.

President Obama is placing the blame on the Republicans, because they rejected a balanced approach to deficit reduction that included tax increases on the wealthy. “Despite broad agreement that exists for such an approach, there are still too many Republicans in Congress that have refused to listen to the voices of reason and compromise that are coming from outside of Washington,” said President Obama.

All of the legislators on both sides of the fence are discussed with the super committee, because many thought it had a task that was achievable. Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee said, “It is nothing short of an embarrassment, an absolute national disgrace, and failure of leadership that we cannot agree on even a paltry $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions.”

Since the super committee did not reach an agreement, there will be automatic cuts of $1.2 trillion over the next year. They are heavily focused toward defense and there is no clear planning on how they will be implemented. There is no planning on the expiration on the Bush tax cuts, which will raise rates on all Americans in 2013.

The two parties can continue to fight and not agree on anything, and blame each other. But logically it would make more sense to compromise and get our fiscal house in order.  

 


For the last month, President Obama has traveled around the country drumming up support, and explaining the benefits of his American Jobs Act. This week in October, the Senate will vote on passing the $447 billion jobs act. Many independent economist and experts support this initiative, and believe the jobs act has the potential to lower unemployment.
On September 8th, the president laid out his American Jobs Act to a joint session of Congress, and a national television audience. “The purpose of the American Jobs Act is simple: to put more people back to work and more money in the pockets of those who are working. It will create more jobs for construction workers, more jobs for teachers, more jobs for veterans, and more jobs for the long-term unemployed,” said President Obama.
President Obama is calling on Congress to pass the American Jobs Act now. The recovery of our economy is extremely fragile, and businesses need consumers to spend money. The only way businesses can continue to grow, and be successful is that they hire more employees.
The American Jobs Act has five main components to help create jobs. The first component is “Tax Cuts to help Americans” with small businesses hire and grow. The president is proposing immediate incentives for small businesses to support hiring and investment from now into 2012. He also is asking for millionaires and billionaires to pay a more equitable share in their percentage of taxes.
The second component is putting “Workers Back on the Job,” while rebuilding and modernizing America. The president is proposing putting Americans to work rebuilding roads, railways, bridges, and schools in need of repair. He would also like to save 280,000 teaching jobs, and make a $30 billion investment to rehire more or laid-off educators.
The third component is “Pathways Back to Work” for Americans looking for jobs. The president is proposing sweeping reforms to the unemployment insurance to help those without jobs transition to the workforce. There will be a need for transitional training through workforce initiatives, for people who need updated skills and technology training.
The fourth component is “More in the Pockets” of every American worker and family. The president’s plan will expand the payroll tax cut, cutting workers payroll taxes in half next year. This provision will provide a tax cut of $1500 to the typical family earning $50,000 a year.
The fifth component is that the American Jobs Act is “Fully Paid For.” The president will release a detailed deficit reduction plan that will pay for every penny of the bill. This component will be extremely challenging, because there is still no concrete evidence that this job act will not cost additional funding.
Ironically, as the president is proposing the jobs act, there is a movement in the country to demonstrate against the large international conglomerates that control the world. This demonstration started on Wall Street. Now all around the country, citizens are protesting the large conglomerates practices and actions, and they want them to pay their share of taxes.
The president is asking Americans to call up their Congressperson, to make sure our legislators know that they need to pass the bill now. Faye Wyoming a citizen says, “It is time to stop the bickering, stop the squabbling, and put Americans back to work.”
As Americans speak out, and support the American Jobs Act, it will be difficult to get the act passed. There will be 60 Senate votes needed to pass the bill, and many experts think the Democrats in the Senate do not have enough votes.

“These may be the worst unemployment numbers for African-Americans in years. How is it that the overall unemployment numbers stay the same and black unemployment gets worse,” says the Congressional Black Caucus blog. In July, black unemployment numbers increased to 16.7%, as compared to 16% in June. Unemployment numbers are holding at 8.1% for whites, and there is a huge disparity when unemployment numbers are analyzed and compared to blacks at 16.7%.

There is a crisis in the African-American community for jobs, and there is a depression taking place. Many of the economists are calling the situation with the economy as double-dip recession, but blacks know it as a depression. There are no jobs, they can’t pay their bills, and unemployment checks and benefits are running out.

Even Newt Gingrich is criticizing President Obama, and calling our economy the “Obama Depression.” “No administration in modern time has failed younger blacks more than the Obama administration,” says Gingrich. Gingrich’s argument rest in the fact that 40% of American black teens this summer were unemployed, and he thinks that the Obama administration is not doing enough for black youth.

There is also in many African-American cities, the unemployment rate for black males is 50%. That means that 1 out of every 2 black male is standing or hanging out on street corners with no goals, no job, and no motivation to improve. As the job situation continues to deteriorate in the cities, there will be more violence, crime, and political disobedience. Political disobedience can take many different forms, but people are upset and angry.

In 2008, on the campaign trail President Obama said, “I still believe in affirmative action as a means of overcoming both historical and political current discrimination. But I think that it can’t be a quota system, and it can’t be something that is simply applies without looking at the whole person, whether that person is black, white, or Hispanic, male, or female.”

I am not sure what the president was referring to when he made that statement, but I inferred that the president meant in certain situations there is a need to develop programs to address certain conditions. With the African-American unemployment rate at 16.7%, it is time for the president to develop programs that specifically addresses the black job crisis.

It is essential that the African American community focus needs to be placed on job creation, and continuing pressure on all elected officials, and the president. We should first start with our own black officials, but we should not stop there. We must send emails, and make phone calls to all elected officials and their color should not matter.

In every urban community in America, there is a need for organizational collaborations, and there should be job marches. It is clear that urban communities and black workers need special attention, and the squeaky or noisy wheel gets a response.

As the president prepares for his joint Congress speech on jobs, he must fight for outcomes that meet high expectations. Many in our community will be looking for actions that address and restore economic viability in the urban community.

Some of the ideas that are being discussed are tax-free zones to attract business investment in the urban communities. Also there should be training programs and funding to support the development of the work force for businesses who locate in urban communities. Finally, there is a need for public works projects to help rebuild the urban infrastructure, and provide jobs immediately.

President Obama has the power and opportunity to develop programs and initiatives to improve the unemployment numbers in the African-American community. It will take courage, innovation, and resolve, but he can make a difference.

As President Obama prepares for his re-election bid for 2012, his job performance numbers are slipping and sagging. This is the worst period for his job performance numbers, since he has been in office. In the Gallup polls his numbers for August are 42%, and in other polls there is a range from 40% to 45%.

U.S. Congress

The American citizens are extremely frustrated with all of the representatives in Congress and they are pointing their finger at every one of them as the problem. Many people in the country think that integrity and credibility no longer exist in politics. The people want to see a change and difference, and something they can believe in.

With the president’s numbers taking a nose dive and sliding, it is important that he starts to change the direction that his numbers are going. Based on history most incumbents win re-elections, because their job performance ratings are in the 50% or higher range. President George Bush was able to win with a 48% approval rating, but that is an exception, as opposed to the rule.

Polls show that voters hold both parties to blame for the fiasco with the political fight over raising the limit on U.S. borrowing, and the unprecedented downgrade of the country’s credit rating. They also are angry over the stunted economic recovery, and an unemployment rate stuck above 9%.

In President Obama’s weekly address he said, “You’ve got a right to be frustrated. I am, because you deserve better. I don’t think it’s too much for you to expect that the people you send to this town to start delivering. Some Republicans in Congress would rather see their opponents lose than see America win.”

There is a major divide in Congress and everyone is trying to figure out what is going on. The bickering and name calling is very disrespectful, but the Republican’s goal to make Obama a one term president is good politics. The Democrats and the president must expect the Republican candidates to go after their policies every chance they get.

former governor Jeb Bush

At this point the election is 15 months away, and the Republicans do not have a candidate that

Texas governor & GOP hopeful Rick Perry

they feel can beat the president. With Governor Rick Perry of Texas entering the race, and Ex-Governor Jeb Bush of Florida doing more talking to the media, the Republican candidates are improving.

It is time for the Democrats and the president to begin to mobilize the college, African American, Hispanic, Youth, and independent voters. In 2008, President Obama revolutionized campaigning with the use of social networking, and online organizing. With celebrities’ endorsements and specifically the use of Oprah Winfrey, the president was able to draw record crowds.

After two and a half years in Washington, it appears that the president has lost his magic, and the power in his belief of change. The first year in office, the president was a whirlwind of activity, and getting unprecedented bills passed in universal healthcare, appointing two Supreme Court Justices, reforming the financial industry, preventing the economy from collapsing, and bringing the war in Iraq to an end.

It is essential that progressives, independents, Democrats, and minorities began to have a legitimate discourse on President Obama’s record. Americans generally want immediate gratification, because we live in a microwave society. But in American political change is slow and there are major bureaucracies to transform, and reorganize.

Instead of spending so much time discussing what the president has not done, it is time to start talking about what he has accomplished. In order for the president to complete what he has started, he needs more vocal and print support. It is time to get behind the president and stand on his record.

As the country braces for another presidential race in 2012, the Republicans are putting together a vicious strategy to keep President Obama from winning a second term. Many believe that the Republican Party and the Tea Party have mounted the most unified opposition to a president in history. But from my perspective, our country is engaged in the political democratic process, and our nation is practicing the system that makes us great.

Many in the country are extremely disgusted with Congress and the contentious bickering and gridlock that are a part of the political system. Every policy, every appointment, every speech, every foreign trip, and every meeting is scrutinized and challenged by the opposing party. We all would like to see more bipartisan, but the system is not set up that way.

There is a global transformation taking place in the world, and America made a transformation, when it elected the first African American president. This was a ground breaking achievement, and the history books will have to be rewritten. The ethnic group that was brought to this country to be slaves had evolved to become free educated people, and an African-American man has been elected to the highest position in the land.

All of the models of the past do not work, when the political pundits and experts try to come up with simple answers for the problems and crisis confronting America. Many would like the country to go back to the ‘good old days’, where political decisions were made by the ‘good old boy’ system. But everyone knows that President Obama is correct when he talks about winning the future through innovation, technology, and education.

Everywhere you turn in the country, every politician is talking about jobs, the economy, and unemployment. But America is not prepared or ready to transition to future technologies, transportation, infrastructure, energy and education.

Some of the 2012 GOP Candidates

Instead of the Republicans developing strategic plans for the future, they are stuck on gridlock, filibuster, and make sure nothing of substance passes the Congress. They will throw everything at President Obama, including the kitchen sink, and keep things at a standstill. They will criticize everything the president does, try to reverse what he has done, and spend millions of dollars to tell the country that he is a weak president.

As the country has lost its AAA credit rating, and the $14 trillion debt that we owe, the Republicans find it easy to point to the president, and say he is the problem. They can justify their assertion with 9% unemployment, stagnant economic growth, the destruction of the middle class, and the large numbers of poor people in the country. It is logical to blame the president on his watch, and many of his supporters are beginning to believe the Republican’s talking points.

At this point, the Republicans are having a problem with finding a candidate that can unify the party with a powerful message. Even though the Tea Party was prominent in the 2010 election, their message is too radical for a presidential election. In order to win the presidency, the Republicans must win a large percentage of the independent voters.

Everyone in the country is excited about the 2012 presidential election. The incumbent always has an advantage, because the media is always reporting on everything the president is doing. The United States elected a Black President for the first time in our history, and it is time for a national catharsis to heal the divisions in the country.

2012 Obama Campaign logo

A new American vision is needed in the election of 2012, and President must motivate and inspire the country that he is the man for the job. This new social contract will demand a new leadership mindset and I believe that President Obama is up.

Representative Doug Lamborn

Last week, Representative Doug Lamborn (R-CO) sent a personal letter to President Obama apologizing for his use of the phrase “tar baby.” In his letter, he claims that he was attempting to verbalize his opinion that the President’s economic policies “have created a quagmire for the nation and are responsible for the dismal economic conditions our country faces.”

In a statement to The Denver Post, Lamborn had this to say: “I absolutely intended no offence, and if this is at all on his radar screen, I am sure that he will not take offence and he’ll be happy to accept my apology, because he is a man of character.” It appears that Lamborn thinks that the president will accept his apology, and his use of the term was not a big deal.

But all around the country, people are incensed and disturbed that a federal legislator would blatantly

Political radio host David Sirota

disrespect the office of the president publicly. David Sirota, AM 760 radio host said this in response to Lamborn’s “tar baby” remark: “The fact that a sitting member of the United States Congress would take to the airwaves to use such a racially derogatory term to describe the first African-American president in American history is disgusting.”

It is obvious that there is a pervasive sickness, which is prevalent in a certain group in the country, and they are not afraid to say in public what they say in private. This is creating an environment of disrespect and racist statements and actions are on the increase.

Also this week on the Al Sharpton radio show, Pat Buchanan, former GOP presidential candidate and current MSNBC analyst, referred to President Obama as “your boy.” Without a doubt this was disrespectful, but Mr. Buchanan said that he didn’t mean to slur President Obama by referring to him as “your boy” during a discussion with Al Sharpton. They were discussing Obama’s political strength when Buchanan said that “your boy” had caved in past negotiations, and was likely to do so in the future.

Al Sharpton and Pat Buchanan face off on the Al Sharpton show when Buchanan makes a derogatory statement

Sharpton responded, “MY what…My president, Barack Obama and what did you say?” At this point Al Sharpton was very angry and the interview continued to deteriorate. Again it was no justification for using this type of derogatory language, when referring to the president.

For some reason, when conservatives criticize the president, they feel they can use almost any kind of language and it is okay. Probably, when they are in private their language is nasty, and their friends say ugly things about the president. But in public, certain decorum is expected, when you are in a position of authority and respectability.

The White House has not made any official comments about Representative Lamborn and Mr. Buchanan’s statements. Many Americans will say that we all have a right to freedom of speech. This would justify Lamborn and Buchanan the right to say what they think and there is nothing that anyone can do.

Shawn J. Parry-Giles is an award-winning Professor in the Department of Communication, Director of Graduate Studies, and Director of the Center for Political Communication and Civic Leadership at the University of Maryland.

But I believe in protocol, and there are certain things that you do not say, because it is the right thing to do. I would be thoroughly disappointed if some reporter used the N word when referring to the president. Given that language is the purveyor of people’s deepest thoughts, as well as the fact that language use is often unconscious, “even a slip of the tongue can reflect the kind of prevalence of racism that still exist within our culture,” says Shawn Parry-Giles.

This week, there have been too many slips of the tongue by our leaders and the media. The race problem is still one of the major problems in the country, because the people in power are not willing to share with the people of color. President Obama was elected by the people, but many of our leaders are having problems calling him Mr. President.

U.S. Senate leadership

On the evening of July 31, 2011, the Senate and The House of Representatives have reached a tentative agreement. Ending a perilous stalemate, President Obama announced an agreement on Sunday night on a compromise that would avoid the nation’s first-ever financial default. The deal would cut more than $2 trillion from federal spending over a decade.

This agreement is tentative and the Congress must ratify the deal with a vote. No votes were expected in either house of Congress until Monday, to give rank and file lawmakers time to review the package. The framework of the deal would give the President a debt ceiling increase of up to $2.4 trillion, and guarantee an equal amount of deficit reduction over the next 10 years.

“Default would have had a devastating effect on our economy,” Obama said at the White House, relaying the news to the American people and financial market around the world. He thanked both the leaders of each party.  

After a tough week of meetings and negotiations, the House of Representatives, Senate leadership, and the president are able to feel good about their accomplishment. According to Democrats and Republican sources, here are the key elements of the deal. There is still work to be done and the leaders of both parties are rounding up votes for the deal.

The debt ceiling increase tentatively would be around $2.1 trillion and the spending cuts would be equal to increase over 10 years. The formation of a special Congressional committee to recommend further deficit reductions that may take the form of spending cuts or tax increases. The special committee must make recommendations by late November, before the Thanksgiving recess.

Congress must also approve those cuts by December 23, or automotive cuts across the board go into effect, including cuts to federal defense programs and Medicare. This trigger is designed to force action on the deficit reduction committee’s recommendations to both Democrats and Republicans. There would also be a vote in both houses on a balanced budget amendment.

As the Congress gets down to the 11th hour, the two houses are close to a deal. During President Bush’s eight years the debt limit was raised 19 times, without the fuss and fight of this Congress. When Bush took office the debt limit was $5.95 trillion, and when he left it was $9.81 trillion.

Top Aide to President Obama, Valerie Jarrett

President Obama has been deeply involved in trying to win a debt deal that both parties find agreeable and can work with. “He’s getting absolutely no sleep. He’s working tirelessly, meeting with his economic team, doing a lot of outreach, exploring all kinds of possibilities for compromise,” top Obama aide Valerie Jarrett told Reuters Insider. This has translated into even longer days than normal at the White House, which already begins with a senior staff meeting at 7:30 am in the morning.

It appears that all the hard work has paid off for President Obama, and his administration. It is still too early to relax, but all the leaders are announcing that a deal has been struck. Democrats won’t like the fact that Medicare could be exposed to automatic cuts, but the sizes of the Medicare cuts are limited. They are designed to be taken from Medicare providers, and not beneficiaries.

Finally, the House of Representatives and the Senate are starting to compromise, and do what is best for the citizens of the country. Somehow President Obama must make bipartisan a reality in Washington, and get the two parties to cooperate, and work together. Making decisions together that improve and enhance the country is the job of our representatives.   

3 Presidents, no solution: NAACP president Benjamin Jealous, President Obama, and National Urban Leage Marc Morial

On Thursday July 21, 2011, President Obama held a meeting at the White House, with NAACP president Benjamin Jealous, and National Urban League president Marc Morial. These are the two oldest and largest Black organizations in the country. The purpose and goal of the meeting was vague, but the leaders had an opportunity to share their opinions on a variety of subjects with the president.

The meeting lasted for about 30 minutes to an hour, and President Obama reiterated that reducing unemployment, which disproportionately burdens the African-American community, remained a top priority for him and his administration. It is important that the president has acknowledged that there is a crisis in unemployment in the Black community, and his administration is willing to confront the problem.

Presidents Morial and Jealous

On July 17, 2011, Marc Morial said on NBC’s Meet the Press, “We have a job crisis in America, and the nation needs a job plan. We have 14 million out of work. The Black unemployment rate is at stifling levels. It’s in fact, increased since the recovery has been begun.”

In June 2009, the unemployment rate for African-Americans was 14.9% and in June this year,

 the rate is 16.2%. White unemployment has dropped from 8.7% to 8.1%, and the Hispanic rate has dropped from 12.2% to 11.6%. Also the Asian rate has dropped from 8.2% to 6.8%.

Marc Morial has pointed out that certain segments in the Black labor force showed even higher rates of unemployment. The most recent unemployment rate for Blacks between the ages of 16 and 24 years was 31.4%. In certain cities, the unemployment rate for Black men is over 50%.

 

Representative Emmanuel Cleaver

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus recently publicly accused the Obama administration of failing to adequately address a veritable epidemic of African-American unemployment. “Can you imagine a situation where any other group of workers, if 34% of white women were out there looking for work and couldn’t find it? There would be rallies, congressional hearings, and protest marches; there is no way that would be allowed to stand,” says Representative Emanuel Cleaver, a Missouri Democrat.

The Congressional Black Caucus has introduced many different bills to attack Black unemployment rates. Debates about Black unemployment persist, but the Obama administration has focused on broad based initiatives aimed at lowering unemployment in general. It appears that the Obama administration needs a specific plan to address Black unemployment.

At the meeting with Morial and Jealous, the president discussed the efforts his administration  has made to address urban economic development through initiatives such as Strong Cities and Strong Communities. These programs act to spur economic growth in urban centers while ensuring taxpayer dollars are used wisely and efficiently.

Morial and Jealous shared their ideas with President Obama for resolving high unemployment in the Black community. The leaders say the president indicated he was willing to consider some of their ideas about job creation and employment discrimination when he is done with the debt crisis.

The two leaders also discussed with the president their opinions on the debt reduction plan. “We emphasized that no steps should be taken that gonna cost this nation jobs. No steps should be taken that’s gonna force vulnerable Americans to pay the cost of a debt reduction plan,” Morial said of the meeting. He said the president nodded his head in agreement.

It is significant that President Obama is taking time out to access and discuss the mood of the African American community. But the wheels of the federal political machine turn slowly and take time. It is important that our political leaders and Congressional Black Caucus continue to apply pressure to the White House, and mobilize the different state, local, and community Black political organizations.

President Obama speaks at the first White House Hispanic Policy Conference

On July 11 &12th, President Obama and his administration held the first-ever “Hispanic Policy Conference.” It was organized by the White House Office of Public Engagement and the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. Attending the conference were 160 Hispanic leaders from 25 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico, joined by over 100 administration officials to discuss the President’s agenda and its impact on their overall community.

In the last census, it was established that there are 54 million Hispanics in the country. The Hispanic community is no longer found in a handful of states, but in every state across the country. It is the largest and fastest growing minority group and critical to the future of our nation.

The purpose of the conference was three-fold: Relationship Building – connecting national leaders to key

Breakout session 4 at policy conference

administration decision makers; “Obama Administration 101” – ensuring folks gained a deeper understanding of the multifaceted ways this administration’s agenda connects to the Hispanic community; and Working Together – allowing participants to connect with each other and administration officials to address how they would improve access and outcomes for this community.

During the two-day conference, there were interactive, informal, small group conversations driven by the Hispanic leaders and not administration officials. There were no lectures, no power point presentations, or talking points led by administration officials. This was an opportunity for Hispanic leaders to meet, talk, and initiate relationships with 35 administration officials and 19 White House office and cabinet agencies.

This was an extremely innovative approach to reach out to the largest minority group in the country. At the end of the first day, President Obama spoke and urged all the participants to take the conversation back to their communities.

 

 
 
 
 
 
In 2012, the Hispanic community will play a pivotal role in the president’s re-election campaign. Now is the time for the president to connect to the Hispanic community and understand the nuances that make their culture different. This conference was a breaking of the ice, and now the administration is getting to know who the power brokers are in the Hispanic community.
 
There will always be a language barrier in the Hispanic community, because most Americans do not speak Spanish. There is also an immigration dilemma in the Hispanic community that the Obama administration will be forced to address. Nevertheless, these initial steps make it easier to build a political infrastructure, which focuses on their community’s needs.

Black leaders meet with Obama at White House

As the Obama Administration continues to reach out to other minority groups, the question must be asked, “When will the White House specifically reach out to the Black community?” Many of the same problems in the Hispanic community can also be found in the African American community. There is a need for the African-American community to request or demand their own policy or agenda conference.

There is still reluctance for the President to specifically identify and address Black problems and initiatives. The Black community and leaders are more involved in family feuds and bickering, than reaching out to the unmet needs in our community.

The key message in the Hispanic community is that it is not a monolithic community with a diversity of issues and problems. Jobs, education, health care and the economy are the most important challenges impacting the Hispanic community.

If the White House is able to hold a Hispanic Policy Conference, then it also has a responsibility to hold an African-American Policy Conference. Our leaders and representatives should request and petition the White House and President Obama for a policy conference of our own.