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RNC Chairman Reince Priebus Addresses The National Urban League

Tara Wall - July 30, 2015

In a July 29, 2015 luncheon address to the executive leadership of the National Urban League, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus emphasized the Party’s commitment to engagement, its new media campaign and the core issues of importance to Black voters. The following are excerpts from Chairman Priebus’ prepared remarks:


Good afternoon. Thank you, Marc Morial, for the introduction.

I also want to thank Marc Morial for his leadership, friendship and dedication to the important work you do to “Save Our Cities.”

It was an honor to speak with you last year up in Ohio, and it’s a privilege to join you again this year as you kick off another conference.

***

Our economy demands attention. Black unemployment is about twice as high as white unemployment. Too many moms and dads can’t wait any longer to get a job to support their kids.

Our schools demand attention. We’re falling behind other countries, but black children are even more likely to be left behind. If you’re a parent, you can’t wait years and years hoping a school turns around. You need an option right now.

And the third area: justice. Jobs and education are issues of justice themselves, because that’s what creates upward mobility. But we know there’s more to the story. In the last year, the country has been shaken by the inadequacies of the system. More Americans are waking up to the fact that things need to change.

There’s work to be done.

Now, I know we can find common ground. I know we can come together to do the right thing.

For example, we saw that this month in South Carolina…when the Confederate flag finally came down. I was proud to stand there with Governor Haley when she issued that call. But I also know it shouldn’t take a tragedy for us to recognize pain and injustice among our neighbors.

***

Jobs, education, and justice are more than the theme of this conference. They should be the priorities of every elected official in the country. And I can tell you this: they are the priorities of my Republican Party.

***

We have our work cut out for us. The majority of urban areas are represented by Democrats. 

I’ll take some of the responsibility. For too long, we were absent in those cities. But things are different now. And our message to anyone who will listen is this: If things haven’t been working out, consider a vote for this party.

In America, no voter should be overlooked. And no voter should ever, ever, be taken for granted—by either party.

***

Leading up to the 2014 midterm election cycle, our minority volunteers and staff made more than 1.6 million contacts to ethnically diverse voters. Our RNC minority engagement teams reached over 1.3 million people in their own communities—through 2,590 events.

Now we’re doubling down on that commitment.

For example, in June we announced the Republican Leadership Initiative--a program to enhance the capabilities of our staff and volunteers. To build the earliest, largest and most diverse staff in our Party’s history.   

This month, we announced a voter mobilization campaign in Ohio, home of our convention next year. The campaign is called CommittedToCommunity: Engage, Empower, Uplift. It is a first-of-its-kind media venture between the RNC and a black media outlet…in this case, Radio One.

It includes conferences and concert series, faith based initiatives, radio and digital advertising and more. And this is just the start.

Our focus is to engage people who would otherwise be on the sidelines—to bring more people into the discussion.

***

For too long, some have peddled the idea that only one party cares about communities of color. And for too long, we’ve let that charge go unanswered.

I’m here to tell you today, we’re doing our part. We’re working. We’re mobilizing people, engaging with voters, and answering the call.

You have a friend and a partner at the Republican National Committee.

So what I ask of you, is this: find ways to connect with Republicans in your local communities, through your local Urban League.

For the sake of jobs, education, and justice—let’s do the right the thing. Let’s save our cities to strengthen our entire country.

Thank you so much, and God bless.


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