Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Issues Facing African American Republican Candidates for Congress

Issues Facing African American Republican Candidates for Congress

“The truth of the matter is that the Republican Party is not doing all it can to attract, support or encourage qualified African American Republicans to successfully run and win national elections. Therefore, we lose even before we begin the race.” __ NRAAC, Nat’l Chair

The National Republican African American Caucus [NRAAC] Chair, Dr. Jean Howard-Hill says that the organization is deeply disappointed with the outcome of the John Arrington race for the U.S. in Illinois.

“We are saddened that such an exceptional and qualified candidate like John Arrington did not win or fair better in the Illinois senatorial race.”

The national chair says that although they wished the outcome was different, “we have a lot to learn as we analysis Republican African American candidacies past, present and future.”

According to her, “There are several general issues facing African American Republican candidates that make us unelectable on a national level,” she contends.

She lists those issues African American Republican candidates are facing in getting elected to national office.

• The Republican Party only encourages us to run in predominantly “black” districts or in “black on black races”.

• Because we are African American, does not automatically gender support for us within the Black community.

• We are marred and prejudged by our Republican political label within the Black community, which makes those within our own race, uncomfortable with our politics.

• We do not appeal to certain voting blocks because our message is too “conservative” as to those issues in which the Black community and economically struggling community do not see as a major issue or concern to them.

• We have failed to give a compelling reason, for which voters can identify enough with, to get them to go to the polls and vote. Therefore, the actively involved voting block, even if it only represents a small segment of the eligible voters, are able to control the elections.

• The African American church community will say they will pray for you, but they won’t get out and vote! [Unless it is an exception such as voting to elect the first African American president.]

• We cannot raise sufficient funds to get out our message, because generally the Republican money contributors do not give to African American candidates, especially in primary elections where they are running against other white Republican candidates.

• The Republican Party generally does not support African American candidates or take us serious.

• We are in a predominantly white political party, which sees it can win elections with or without our vote or support, therefore they can deny us a place at the table simply because we carry no political capital of value to them.

• Because of racism within the Party, no matter how qualified we are, we more often are not seen as viable candidates to run in national elections.

• We do not always know how to or have the venue to properly articulate our message.

• The media writes us off before we begin, because of the history of not being able to rally support from the white conservative, male, Republican base.

• In most cases, we do not have the expertise to effectively run a campaign.

• Without money, we cannot acquire professionals to analyze our chances for winning, put together campaign strategy or to run our campaigns.

• If you lose once, very few people will want to work for you or financially support your candidacy the next time around.

• Most white Republican candidates are wealthy and can self-finance 30% to 70% of their own campaigns or can gender support from the Republican wealth base.

• African American Republican candidates generally lack money to finance our own campaigns. At best, we only can self-finance 0.5% of our campaigns.

• People do not give unless they believe you can win.

• We become discouraged by all of the above. Therefore, we step into the race already embattled and carrying weights and shackles.

She says, “Prior to the NRAAC, African America Republicans have not had a unified effort on a local, state and national level that seeks to bring African American Republicans together as one voting block, and to actively recruit membership to increase our political capital.”

“These are just a few of the issues that as an organization, we must begin to address, so that good people, such as John, next time can have a better chance at winning.”

“The truth of the matter is that the Republican Party is not doing all it can to attract, support or encourage qualified African American Republicans to successfully run and win national elections. Therefore, we lose even before we begin the race.”

[Dr. Jean Howard-Hill is the author of Black Eyes Shut, White Lips Sealed. She has served as the national chair for the National Black Republican Women with her late husband, Attorney Bobby Lee Hill serving as the head of the Black Republican Men for Change from 1987 to his death in 1991. After his death up until 1993, she remained head of the organization, and in 1999 combined the two groups to form the National Republican African American Caucus. Outside of her role as the National Republican African American Caucus [NRAAC] national chair, Howard-Hill is known for her involvement within the African American community and her efforts to correct and enhance verbal, written and presentational skills of African American students, and her “Pull up Your Pants and Dress for Success Campaign” to improve the appearance and fate of African American males. She has created and directed the Many Faces of Diversity at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, which teaches these skills to minority, “at-risk”, and first generation college bound students. She is currently working on the Tennessee Youth Research Study, a research project aimed at identifying causes and providing connectors to reconnect to the youth of this generation. She also has taught full time and as an adjunct, American Government, State and Local Government, and International Politics and Culture of Nonwestern Countries at UTC, and was voted 2006 Outstanding Professor of the year. Additionally, from 1976 to 1979, she designed and directed the “Democracy In Action” Program, which was a civics program taught in the local school systems. Howard-Hill also is a local political commentator and holds a law degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville College of Law. She also is ordained clergy and heads The Healing Place Ministries International, overseeing 47 ministries throughout Africa.]

Contact Person:

Jean Howard-Hill,NRAAC National Chair
423-544-9696 cell 423-702-5622 NRAAC office

The Purpose of The National Republican African-American Caucus is to create an organization that is comprised of Spirit filled people of faith within the African American community, that works in conjunction with local, state and national party efforts to embrace, and offer African-American Republicans opportunities for inclusion and involvement in the Republican Party, and builds bridges between the African-American community and the Republican Party. In doing so, we seek to carry out the philosophy and mission set before President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas to build a stronger and more inclusive Republican Party, where those guiding principles are more important than politics.

Although we identify as independently thinking Lincoln-Douglas Republicans, the organization is not intended to act as a separate entity that isolates and segregates itself from the mainstream Party. However, recognizing the need of African-American Republicans to find strength in numbers, there is a bona fide and understandable necessity for creating an organization that serves as a conduit that creates a door for African-Americans to enter the ranks of the GOP openly, with pride and acceptance. Also, the organization allows displaced and unidentified African-American Republicans to proudly identify themselves as Republicans, through the strength of being a part of a collective local, state and national body that shares the same core values.

The organization shall endeavor to work directly, and in conjunction with the local, state and national Party, to address issues and concerns that are unique to the African-American community, and together find workable and amicable solutions. The creation of the organization offers hope for the betterment of the total community; builds a stronger, more diverse, and more stable political environment; creates a new, exciting, and positive relationship between the Republican Party and the African-American community; increases the visibility and ranks of African-American Republicans; and strengthens our nation.

Additionally under the organization’s umbrella are other ethnic groups comprised of people of spirit and truth that fall under the organization as distinct caucuses, addressing issues unique to their individual ethnicities.

NRAAC offers membership not only to Republicans, but also to Independent and Democratic Affiliates who share our core values.

The organization has at the center of its core values, the commitment to first be examples of Godly principles, and to integrate those principles within our everyday life, including politics, to make a positive difference. However, NRAAC is not a religion, nor is it an affiliate of any denomination. It is an independent political organization that recruits those who are Spirit filled and people of faith to bring about principled and positive change within the political arena.

The National Republican African American Caucus is also working to foster and nurture this change through its efforts that include the National Youth on the Horizon Leadership Summit that involves youth ages 14 - 18 of all races. The Youth Summit will focus on issues and concerns as expressed by youth, and will allow them to offer their advice in finding workable solutions to problems plaguing young Americans. The Summit will include speakers, workshops, panel discussions, and a concert. The admission to the Summit is free and includes complimentary breakfast and lunch.

Another NRAAC effort is the New Generation - New Direction Campaign, which focuses on those from ages 18 to 29. The mission of the project is to build a national political base of young African - Americans that are issue oriented and share some of the same core values of the Republican Party, and are willing to work to address those concerns that impact their present and future. The campaign addresses issues involving economic empowerment, educational attainment, social conditions, global concerns, self-responsibility, and self accountability. It also prepares and encourages this generation to become politically involved as voters, participants in government at all levels, and as candidates for office.

NRAAC also is convening its National and Global Conference, July 8th – 10th, 2010 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The 2010 conference theme is: Setting the Republican Agenda to Include people of Spirit and Faith. NRAAC participants and affiliates from across the country will be brought to the table to address a wide range of community, state, national and international issues. Highlighting the event is the National Embrace’s Black Elephant Dinner with speaker, Rev. Johnny Lee Clary, former KKK Grand Dragon of Oklahoma, who also serves as the NRAAC National Embrace Chair. Also special invitation is being sent to President G. W. Bush and President H. W. Bush, along with other Republican leaders. That night’s them is: Extending the Olive Branch.

“It is time to extend the olive branch, and that night we will do all we can to let the Republican Party know that since we are here to stay, we also want our stay in the Republican Party to be one which is harmonious and seeks to build the party and moves it in more positive directions, that are beneficial to the nations and future generations”, say the National Chair.

More information on the NRAAC can be found at: [NRAAC] National Republican African American Caucus Social Issue Network (members only) [NRAAC Blog] [NRAAC Youth on the Horizons Blog] [NRAAC New Generation—New Direction Blog] [NRAAC National Chair’s Blog]

Also each State Caucus can be accessed by state. See related links at

Can be found on the RNC group page at

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