CBCF to Announce New Voting Rights Initiatives at 46th Annual Legislative Conference

MEDIA ADVISORY

CBCF to Announce New Voting Rights Initiatives at 46th Annual Legislative Conference

Voter Protection Series, Voting Rights Tool kit Highlight Value of the Black Vote

WASHINGTON, Sept. 14, 11 a.m.—The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Incorporated (CBCF) will launch its 46th Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) with a strong message about the importance and power of the African-American vote—with a press conference featuring its new Voter Protection Series, on-site voter registration opportunities and other resources available during the more than 100 sessions offered during this year’s ALC.

During the press conference, scheduled for 11 a.m., Wednesday, Sept. 14, the CBCF will explore the impact of voter suppression on American democracy and public policy issues impacting African Americans. Leaders from both the CBCF and Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) will discuss what is at stake in this presidential election for Black voters—in the first presidential election without the protection of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

WHAT: ALC opening press conference

WHO: Shuanise Washington, the president and chief executive officer of the CBCF;

Representative John Conyers, co-founder of the CBC, dean of the U.S. House of Representatives, and ranking member of the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee;

Representative G. K. Butterfield, chairman of the CBC;

Representative Lacy Clay, ALC honorary co-chair;

Representative Karen Bass, ALC honorary co-chair; and

Menna Demessie, Ph.D, vice president, research and programs, CBCF

WHEN: 11 a.m., Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016

WHERE: Walter E. Washington Convention Center, L Street Bridge

ABOUT THE ALC

The ALC is the leading policy conference on issues impacting African Americans and the global black community. The conference features more than 100 public policy forums on health, education, economic empowerment, the environment, and more. Signature events and features include the National Town Hall, Celebration of Leadership in Fine Arts, Community Breakfast and Health Fair, Gospel Extravaganza, Black Party, Prayer Breakfast, Exhibit Showcase, and the culminating event, the Phoenix Awards Dinner. This year’s theme, “Defining the Moment, Building the Movement,” will highlight social and political moments in American history that define the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc

Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus Nearly Unanimously Supporting Hillary Clinton

From Ouida Meruvia, Hillary Clinton 2016

Jackson, MS – More than 40 African-American legislative leaders in Mississippi today announced their support of Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary. These Senators and Representatives endorsed Clinton citing her commitment to underserved communities, especially the African American community.

“Hillary Clinton is the only candidate with a unique focus on delivering results for underserved communities,” said Representative Earle Banks. “Hillary has fought for and stood with African Americans for 40 years, going back to when she went undercover in Alabama to examine racial disparities in education. Now I’m proud to stand with her.”

“When Hillary Clinton was a young woman, she went to work for Marian Wright Edelman at the Children’s Defense Fund and immediately began to make a difference in the lives of African American families. She hasn’t stopped since,” said Representative Kimberly Campbell. “She helped enact the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which has provided coverage for 8 million children, including many in underserved communities. Now she wants to raise incomes, protect our voting rights, reform our broken criminal justice system and cut out of pocket health care costs for families. She’s the advocate we need in the White House, which is why I’m proud to support her.”

“In the fight for racial and social justice, there’s only one candidate running for President who will walk the walk, and it’s Hillary Clinton,” said Senator Derrick Simmons. “She has a long track record of delivering results for African American families, and she is the best candidate to defeat the Republicans who want to benefit those at the very top at the expense of everyone else, including communities of color.”

“Hillary Clinton has a lifetime record of breaking down barriers that hold people back, especially people of color,” said Representative Chris Bell. “Some candidates have been talking about the problems facing Black Americans for 40 days, but Hillary has been taking action for 40 years. She is the candidate we can trust to help families in Mississippi see rising incomes, and it’s why I am committed to helping her win the March 8 primary.”

The endorsement follows Clinton’s speech in Harlem on Tuesday where she outlined her agenda to break down all the barriers holding Americans back and to combat systemic racism and build ladders of economic opportunity for African American families.

Below is a list of supportive African-American legislative leaders in Mississippi.

· Senator Albert Butler · Senator David Jordan · Senator Hillman Frazier · Senator John Horhn · Senator Sampson Jackson II · Senator Robert Jackson · Senator Derrick Simmons · Senator Willie Simmons · Senator Angela Turner · Senator Tammy Witherspoon · Representative Jeramey Anderson · Representative Willie L. Bailey · Representative Earle S. Banks · Representative Chris Bell · Representative Edward Blackmon Jr. · Representative Cedric Burnett · Representative Credell Calhoun · Representative Kimberly Campbell · Representative Bryant W. Clark · Representative Alyce Griffin Clarke · Representative Linda F. Coleman · Representative Oscar Denton · Representative Jarvis Dortch · Representative John G. Faulkner · Representative Karl Gibbs · Representative John W. Hines · Representative Gregory Holloway, Sr. · Representative Robert E. Huddleston · Representative Lataisha Jackson · Representative Robert L. Johnson III · Representative Kabir Karriem · Representative Carl L. Mickens · Representative America “Chuck” Middleton · Representative David Myers · Representative Orlando W. Paden · Representative Willie Perkins · Representative Omeria Scott · Representative Rufus E. Straughter · Representative Kathy Sykes · Representative Sara Richardson Thomas · Representative Kenneth Walker · Representative Percy W. Watson · Representative Adrienne Wooten · Representative Charles Young, Jr

Several Mississippi Democratic Legislators Back Clinton Over Sanders

By: Mike Biggs

Several Mississippi Democratic legislators threw their support behind Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Jackson yesterday. Representative Earle Banks of Jackson, leader of the Legislative Black Caucus, and Senator Deborah Dawkins led the group of 20 members who assembled in the Capitol rotunda for the press conference.

The group of mostly black legislative leaders joins Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber who recently endorsed Clinton as well. Hillary Clinton has been locking up key African American support across the South. Mississippi will hold its presidential preference primary on March 8th, 2016. Hillary Clinton is in a tight race with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination.

Democratic Clinton Legislative Supporters Include:

Senator John Horhn- Jackson

Senator Sollie Norwood- Jackson

Senator Deborah Dawkins- Pass Christian

Senator Robert Jackson- Marks

Senator Albert Butler- Port Gibson

Senator Angela Turner- West Point

Senator Derrick Simmons- Greenville

Senator Willie Simmons- Cleveland

Rep. John Faulkner- Holly Springs

Rep. Jarvis Dortch- Jackson

Rep. Steve Holland- Plantersville

Rep. Jeramey Anderson- Moss Point

Rep. Kathy Sykes- Jackson

Rep. Omeria Scott- Laurel

Rep. Chris Bell- Jackson

Rep. Alyce Clarke- Jackson

Rep. Greg Holloway- Hazelhurst

Rep. Oscar Denton- Vicksburg

Rep. Rufus “Pete” Straughter- Belzoni

Rep. Earle Banks- Jackson

Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber Endorses Hillary Clinton

Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber endorses Hillary Clinton: Clarion Ledger

Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton Monday, saying she will push for issues important to urban centers, including smaller cities like Jackson.

“Hillary Clinton knows how to make it happen,” Yarber said in a statement. “As President, she will give special and needed attention to cities, particularly minority-led cities, and the issues that plague us.’’

His endorsement follows Clinton’s recent comments expressing concern over high lead levels recently reported in Jackson’s water.

Yarber and some other black elected officials, mostly from the South, were on a conference call with Clinton earlier Monday.

Yarber said in an interview he’s encouraged by the level of engagement by Clinton’s team about “policy initiatives that we think should be in place to make sure that cities like ours can compete, make sure cities like ours are viable and that we don’t get lost in the shuffle in terms of conversations about infrastructure investments, quality-of-life issues.’’

He said it’s important that Democratic cities in red states get fair treatment.

Other high-profile Mississippi Democrats, including Rep. Bennie Thompson, top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, also have endorsed the former secretary of state.

Mike’s Missives: Rickey Cole, Tyrone Hendrix and a Visit From St. Nicholas

By: Mike Biggs

Twas’ a Month after the Election: Part 3

Twas’ a month after the Election, all across the Magnolia State, Candidates have been fretting, yet joyful they survived another race. Boot-Scootin’ Byrant’s been defiant and drinking the TEA while rantin’ and ravin’ about the Syrian Refugees. Thad is in Washington and still bringing home the bacon and the NRSC’s Wicker is out furiously recruiting because U.S. Senate control is for the takin’.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with glee while ol’ Chris McDaniel was still plotting his path to DC. The TEA Party Express is where his wagon’s been hitched and it’s heading towards Palazzo barring another run into the ditch. On Thompson, On Harper, On Kelly with glee; they’re all nestled comfortably in gerrymandered-ly safe seats.

To the top of Two Sisters’ porch, to the top of the wall; 2015 saw Mississippi Dems continued downfall. While Gunn and company racked up even more wins, one or two holdouts continued the spin. When what to my wondering eyes did appear, state Democrats notched a win with Brown and Bob Dear-ring!

Now Barbara Blackmon and Jeramey and Busby and Bain. On Bomgar and Tindell and don’t forget Fillengane. To Hood and Pickering and Chaney with glee. To Becky C. and Rita and the rest of Phillips’ girls on High Street. So, Bob Evans and Kimberly and Sen. Hill you can’t hide and let’s not forget Randall and Nickey and now Steverson is party-switchin’ to glide.

The Republicans were nestled all snug in their beds while visions of a supermajority danced around in their heads. Bo Eaton is the only thing standing in their way but fret not House Repubs for Gunn’s committee will clear the way. And off to the side and looking down the road, my dear friend Rickey has decided to hang up his robe. When what to my wandering eyes did appear, a fresh face and new direction for the party of Hamer is drawing near.

So to all of you who love a good political retort, this cycle gave way to characters like “Silent Knight” and Dr. Short. Let’s not forget Mayor Mary who kept us on the edge of our seats or the party favorite Vicki who went down surprisingly in defeat. The political winds have shifted for what appears to be the long haul and the Mississippi Political Pulse say’s Thank You for allowing us to cover it all. The future seems bright as we look back and sip tea, we’re glad you’ve chosen to follow us as we close out year 3.

So to all to whom such a closure evokes fear, The PULSE wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

All Roads Lead to Rickey Cole

Rickey Cole is opting out of a third term as state Democratic Party chair, ending a tour of duty that has spanned over 30 years working Democratic campaigns in Mississippi and as party chairman from 2001-2004 and most recently for the past 4 years from 2012-2016. His tenure oversaw the state party renovate its headquarters, launched a state party website and a toll free phone hotline, upgraded office technology, secured party ownership of an updated 1.6 million name voter file, gave long overdue tribute to Fannie Lou Hamer by re-naming its signature annual event the Jefferson-Jackson-Hamer Dinner, settled a seven-year outstanding lawsuit, raised and spent over 1.2 million dollars, and successfully retained Democratic majorities in both houses of the Mississippi legislature.

“It has been a great privilege to be of service, but I believe it is time for other voices to be heard” said Chairman Cole. “ I will still be actively engaged in working to make Mississippi a better place.”

Under Cole, the state party has seen high points and lows. During his first term as chair, the party had majorities in both houses of the legislature and 7 of the 8 constitutional offices with the exception being State Auditor, Phil Bryant. While the party would retain the house of representatives through the 2011 election cycle by a slim majority, the paradigm shift from Democrat to Republican would soon bring forth what we see today. To be fair, Cole was not party chairman from 2005-2010 but he was a central figure in the party hierarchy during the off years.

Rickey has been described as a level head and pragmatist who is a great communicator and is very charismatic. This is from friend and foe alike. The Rickey Cole I came to know and love is all of that and some. A farmer and laborer; a folksy statesman; a workhorse; a mentor and guide; a Friend, who has guided the Mississippi Democratic Party in the bests and worsts of time. The great Woody Allen once said that 90% of success is just showing up and that is true with my dear friend Rickey. His presence over the past 33 years is a testament to the fact that Mississippi Democrats are still in the fight. He’ll leave big shoes to fill but I’m sure he won’t be too far off the stage.

As Cole exits, who’s next to lead Mississippi’s Dems?

2016 will be an important year for many reasons, one of with will be the changing of the guard over at 832 N. Congress Street. While there are many good potentials out there, the next chairman of the party must be ready to lead on day 1 with what will likely be a blank slate and bare-bone bank account.

Candidates must have a solid background in running campaigns, grassroots organizing, fundraising and able to govern. Leading the 80 member state executive committee is a tall order for even the most hardened politico so it will take one who is affable enough to navigate the many personalities yet confident enough to lead the committee as its tutelar head.

In my opinion there is no one more prepared for the job than Jackson City Councilman, Tyrone Hendrix. A campaign veteran and friend, Tyrone has been a permanent fixture on the Democratic Party scene since leading President Obama’s campaign effort in Mississippi in 2008. Over the past 7 years, Tyrone has been a part of nearly every major Democratic campaign and progressive effort in Mississippi in either a leadership or consulting role. In his role at OFA Mississippi and subsequent Deputy Campaign Manager role with Mayor Johnny Dupree’s 2011 gubernatorial campaign, Tyrone has garnered the trust of Democratic activists and officials from all over the state.

Election results and analysis over the past 4 cycles have shown that the Democratic base has been staying at home partially due to lack-luster candidates but more so because a lack of enthusiasm. Chatter among Democrats usually ended in long exasperated gasps and a feeling of hopelessness. One of the things I’ve admired about Tyrone is he is a dreamer and has an uncanny ability to make you acquiesce into his vision. I think the base needs to believe in the Democratic Party again and that its best days lie ahead and that should come from its leader.

I first met Tyrone in the spring of 2004 while we were both students at Jackson State. I was re-chartering the JSU College Democrats chapter and Tyrone ended up being one of our charter members. Nearly 12 years later, he still has the same level of energy, balancing an active schedule, a young family and healthy roster of campaigns and causes. A great communicator will be needed to articulate the vision to the base and party faithful while garnering by-in from the donors and bringing new fundraisers into the fold. Being an elected official will be a plus. Elected Democrats alone have the ability to change the party’s financial situation while giving them reason to become more involved with the part and it’s success.

Make no mistake, Tyrone and I have had disagreements on tactics and style in the past; at times very public. We’ve taken similar yet different paths partnering up at times along the way. I’m a firm believer that it’s okay if we agree to disagree which is one of the hallmarks of our representative democracy. With that being said however, I’ve always respected the fact that he’s steadfast in what he sets out to do. I’m also confident that you will not out work Tyrone who often is up plotting and planning well into the wee hours of the night which happens to be another one of those things we differ on. :-)

Mississippi Democrats need someone who is determined to lead them into what will undoubtedly be the most important 4 years of the party’s future. A political strategist is needed who eats, drink and sleeps politics and who knows the state’s 4 congressional districts, 82 counties and 2100 precincts like the back of his hand.
Hailing from the capital city of Jackson and the populous Hinds Hinds County would be a bonus since a large swath of party convention attendees usually come from this region. The party is ready for his leadership if he so chooses throw his hat in the ring. I for one hopes he does!

Mike’s Missives’: Phil Bryant Is on the Wrong Side of History

“Despite Governor Bryant’s wishes to turn away Syrian refugees seeking asylum from terrorist groups, we are happy to note that he has no say in the matter. Anyone who has been granted asylum by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services can reside where they choose in our great country. We, as Mississippians, are proud to welcome refugees of all religions or lack thereof.

The United States has been home to immigrants fleeing oppression and religious persecution for the entirety of the 239 since her founding. While we recognize that there must be systems and safegaurds in place, slamming the door shut and closing our hearts must not be the solution.

We do not stand by our Governors’ political stunt for attention, for if we did we would only be doing precisely what the terrorists want us to do. By alienating those in need, we feed into their propaganda and help the terrorists win. We will not do that. We will win this battle through compassion and acceptance, and ask that all of our fellow Mississippians do the same. It is not surprising that Governor Phil Bryant is once again on the wrong side of history, but we do not have to be.”

Kudos to my Texas friends for standing up to Gov. Greg Abbott!

Mike’s Missive’s: Let’s Get to Work!

By: Mike Biggs

As the dust settles from the 2015 campaigns I want to offer you my gratitude for your unwavering support of our Democratic candidates and the causes that bring us together as a party. Having spent time with and talked to voters across this great state, I am convinced that brighter days are ahead.

As we speak, the legislative and executive branches of our state government are now firmly controlled by the Tea Party fringes of the Republican Party. While disastrous as this may seem, it does should deepen our resolve.

While we wait for the final certification of the results there are many reasons for Democrats to be proud. We re-elected Attorney General Jim Hood to a 4th term and Democrats will have a majority on the Public Service Commission with the election of former state representative Cecil Brown.

Make no mistake about it; there were reasons to be disappointed. The House Democratic caucus was our last front against the radical Republican agenda. We need to rebuild just as we did last decade when we held as many as 75 seats in the house and 32 seats in the senate. We start today educating and organizing our base and re-building the party from the ground up.

On a personal note, several of my good friends fought valiantly and ultimately were unsuccessful but deserve our heartfelt thanks and adoration for their service to our state and party:

3rd CD:

Rep.Bobby Moak

House Democratic Leader Bobby Moak

4th CD:

Rep. Blaine “Bo” Eaton

Rep. Bo Eaton of Taylorsville

Rep. Sherra-Hillman Lane

Rep. Sherra Hillman-Lane

We also saw several members retire this year: Rep. Mary H. Coleman, Rep. Ferr Smith, Rep. Bennet Malone, Rep. Joe Warren, Rep. Johnny Stringer, Rep. Chuck Espy, Rep. James Evans, and Rep. Clara Burnett

It is time to create an agenda that provides opportunity for everyone. It is time to set goals that every Mississippi Democrat believes are worth fighting for. I hope you will take a moment to reflect on the enormity of the challenges we faced this year and the many reasons that we can be energized and optimistic heading into the future.

I believe we will prevail but more importantly we must begin the process of preparing for 2019 now. We can begin immediately to target increased voter turnout for the 2016 elections. We need at least 200,000 more Democrats added to the voter rolls to return a Democrat to the White House, all incumbents up for re-election and gain new Democratic seats where they may be competitive.

Let’s resolve to recruit Democrats who can win for Democrats and make Mississippi a better place to live, work and raise a family.

DeMiktric “Mike” Biggs

Republicans Welcome Turncoat Jody Steverson to the Party

From GOP Press Release:

Speaker Philip Gunn today confirmed that Representative Jody Steverson, a Democrat from Ripley, Miss., has joined the Republican Party.

“We are pleased with Rep. Steverson’s decision,” said Speaker Gunn. “His views and ideology closely align with those of the Republican Party. We look forward to continuing our work together.”

Rep. Steverson is a business owner in Ripley, Miss. On Tuesday, he ran unopposed and was reelected to a second term. “I am honored to join the Republican Party,” said Rep. Steverson. “I want to be a part of the progression of Mississippi. I’ve always been conservative in my voting record concerning social issues like Second Amendment rights. My views line up closer with those of the Republican Party. With this switch, I know I will be able to better help my constituents of Tippah County in House District 4.”

The 131st Legislative Session begins on Tuesday, January 5, 2016.

Clarion Ledger: Dueling Initiatives 42, 42A Baffle Voters

Dueling initiatives 42, 42A baffle voters: Clarion Ledger

Jackson resident Alex Jones considers himself to be an informed citizen. The businessman reads at least one newspaper most days, follows state and national politics and enjoys history. But when he first examined a sample ballot for Initiative 42, which calls for a constitutional amendment to require the state to fund an “adequate and efficient” system of public school districts, he was stumped.

Of about 45 Mississippi residents asked to review the ballot by The Hechinger Report, four were able to complete the sample ballot in a way that accurately reflected their intent. From the Huddle House in Winona to an outlet mall in Pearl; from the Mississippi State Fair in Jackson to a feed store on the outskirts of Greenwood; from outside a gas station in Edwards to a community college campus in Holmes County, Mississippians of varied education levels, ages and backgrounds were puzzled by the ballot’s legal language. They were equally confused by the two different sections that must be marked for the ballot to be counted.

Daily Journal: Bryant Won’t Debate Gray

Bryant won’t debate Gray: Daily Journal

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant says he won’t debate his Democratic challenger, Robert Gray, before the Nov. 3 general election. His decision is bound to disappoint voters who wanted to see how Gray, a long-haul trucker with the CB handle Silent Knight, would fare in a side-by-side format with one of the state’s longest-serving officials.

That decision makes him Mississippi’s first governor in two decades not to debate a challenger while seeking a second term. “I have this other extremely busy job with being governor,” said Bryant, 60. “I think the best thing I can do as a candidate right now is be the best governor I can be.”

Gray, 46, surprised the political establishment – and, he said, even himself – by defeating two candidates in the Aug. 4 Democratic primary. He never told his closest relatives, his mom and his sister, that he was running for governor, and said he didn’t spend a dime on his campaign. Gray said he didn’t vote for himself because he was busy running errands that day.