Campaign News
March 31, 2011

NBC-LEO Hosts Legislative Luncheon, Meets with Members of the CBC

Brenda Ramirez   ·  National League of Cities   ·  Link to Article

The National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (NBC-LEO) constituency group, under the leadership of President Michael Johnson, councilmember, Phoenix, hosted a legislative briefing luncheon, “NBC-LEO Leadership on the Hill,” during NLC’s Congressional City Conference. The luncheon, which took place at the Library of Congress, brought together members of NBC-LEO and the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) to discuss mutually important legislative priorities for African American communities.

The legislative luncheon boasted the participation of various members of the CBC, including CBC chair Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.).

“I appreciate the opportunity to come here and I hope that this is not an opportunity that we will fail to honor,” said Cleaver.  “Let’s figure out ways in which the Congressional Black Caucus can work with National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials. We have to build an agenda.”

Rep. Donald Payne (D-N.J.), who worked closely with President Johnson to organize the luncheon, offered  welcoming remarks. He reiterated the importance of building bridges between the two groups to ensure a long-lasting, constructive relationship.

Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.), a freshman member of the House, said, “We look forward to working with all of you in making sure that we move our communities forward.”  During her remarks, Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) pointed out that the three highest ranking members of the CBC — Reps. Cleaver, Payne and James Clyburn (D-S.C.) — were present at the luncheon. She asked members of NBC-LEO to take their presence as a sign that the CBC is committed to working with NBC-LEO.

Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Hansen Clarke (D-Mich.) and William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) were also present at the luncheon.
Important legislative priorities for the two groups include education, healthcare and transportation and infrastructure.

“Policy is why we exist. Policy is why we are here. We really need all of you to be actively engaged,” said NBC-LEO President-elect Deborah Denard Delgado, councilmember, Hattiesburg, Miss. “We are going to nurture this relationship so it can help us be stronger representatives of our people. We really want you to keep that in mind.”

President Johnson was satisfied with the outcome of the luncheon and of bringing both NBC-LEO and CBC together. “None of this would have happened without all of our participation. I want to thank everybody for coming out and participating,” he concluded.

In addition to the luncheon, NBC-LEO also held its Board of Directors and General Membership meetings during the conference. During these meetings, President Johnson presented his President’s report, including news about the NBC-LEO Foundation.

Michael A. Blake, deputy associate director for the Offices of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement at the White House, spoke at the Board of Directors meeting. He talked about President Obama’s policy agenda and mentioned that five major components of the agenda are the economy, education, healthcare, community investment and civil rights/liberties.

Kofi Asante, president and CEO of the National Comprehensive Center for Fathers, and Chris Aldridge, director of prevention at HealthHIV, also presented information about their organizations..

The general membership meeting also boasted the presence of guest speakers who presented information about their respective federal agencies.

These speakers included Russlynn Ali, assistant secretary for civil rights at the U.S. Department of Education; Antwaun Griffin, senior advisor for the Office of Field Operations at the Small Business Administration; Nicole Y. Lamb-Hale, assistant secretary for manufacturing and services at the Department of Commerce; and William E. Spriggs, assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Labor.

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