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U.S. rep slams GOP policies
Maxine Waters at Legislative Black Caucus
 
Published Wednesday, June 19, 2013 3:18 pm
by Kimberly Harrington, For The Charlotte Post

DURHAM – U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters said North Carolina is demonstrating leadership with its Moral Mondays protests in response to a backward Republican agenda and urged others across the country to also take it to the streets.


The 12-term California lawmaker was the keynote speaker at the N.C. Legislative Black Caucus Foundation’s annual scholarship banquet on Feb. 14. The event, named after the late Rep. William L. Wainwright, raises scholarship money for historically black colleges and universities.


Waters serves as the ranking member of the House Committee on Financial Services and is a member of the Steering and Policy Committee. She is considered one of the most powerful women in American politics today.


“Here in North Carolina, you are leading the way. You are revitalizing the spirit of resistance. You are demonstrating leadership and courage with the Moral Mondays response,” Waters said. “I could not be more proud and enthusiastic by the way you have responded.”


Waters called the right-winged tactics of today “old tricks, new strategies.” Instead of having to count jelly beans in a jar to vote, the Republican agenda is to dilute the voting power by scaling back on early voting.


North Carolina wants to reduce unemployment benefits when the state’s unemployment rate exceeds the national average. North Carolina is refusing to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act that would provide insurance to 500,000 North Carolinians. And the state wants to cut public education despite the overwhelming public support of a penny sales tax to support it. The latter has resulted in the University of North Carolina system facing $50 million in budget cuts.


Waters noted that the educational banquet was being held two weeks before interest rates on students loans are set to double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. This hike will cost the average student an additional $1,000 in debt.


“What the foundation is doing is a true testament to your love and concern for the young people and families you represent,” she said. “The scholarship program is above and beyond your public service.”


But in Congress, the support for education is in jeopardy, she said. Even starting at the lower levels where tremendous cuts and sequestration – which is a fancy word for reducing and cutting services – will affect programs such as Head Start.


Waters, who started her career in Head Start, said these cuts will deny more than 70,000 eligible children early childhood education.
“We should be investing in our children at an early age. Head Start is important and impressive,” she said. It is where some children get their first physical examination. It is where teachers detect learning disabilities. “If you’re rich, you can pay for early childhood education and trips to the zoo and museums. But for families earning low wages, your child needs Head Start.”


Eligibility requirements for the Department of Education’s Parent Plus loan program are also changing. Historically, this program helped parents get loans for students who had borrowed the maximum allowable amount in Stafford and Perkins loans. Prior to the change, any parent could take out the loan as long as he/she had a decent credit history.


Under the new rule, a parent with any unpaid accounts in collections or other student loans written off as unpayable over the past five years will be automatically disqualified. This creates yet another barrier for children to get an education.


Washington should be moving swiftly to make an advanced education affordable, but instead, it is subsidizing the successful in times of extreme inequality. It should be closing the loop holes that benefit the hedge fund managers on Wall Street. It should be cracking down on shell corporations that avoid taxation overseas, she said.


This is why now more than ever the rest of the country needs to go to the streets like North Carolina is doing with its Moral Mondays, which was organized by the N.C. NAACP and has drawn thousands in support from various backgrounds and organizations.


“We’re going to have to do what you all are doing here. We’re going to have to show up…and join with the people of this nation who are prepared to say we are not going to take it. We are not going to allow this country to go backward. We are not going to allow the Tea Party or anybody else to take us back. We have fought too long. We have fought too hard,” she said.


And to naysayers and young people who think marching is too old-school, Waters reminded them that “old school stuff worked and that old school stuff got you where you are today.”


Facebook and Twitter are fine, but use it to join in with the old school strategy to increase the numbers. “If you don’t show up, no one is going to believe you. If you don’t get in the streets, it’s not going to happen.”


The N.C. Legislative Black Caucus Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1986 for the purpose of supporting African-American college students through educational programs, scholarships and internships.


Comments

This is very informative and I agree , we need to use old school strategies. Thank you Kimberely
Posted on June 21, 2013
 

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