AFRO Endorses Hillary Clinton To be the Democratic Presidential Candidate

Hillary Clinton is a battle-tested warrior. Since ascending to the national stage with her husband, President Bill Clinton, her policies and positions have been a call to protect the most vulnerable; women and minorities.

From her tireless work in the 1990s for universal health care, a goal that would eventually happen with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, to being an advocate for issues that affect women, especially women of color, Clinton has been there.

Even though some activists have criticized Clinton, nevertheless she has fought tirelessly for the Democratic ideals that are critical to Black America. From advocating for restricting guns that kill so many of our people and holding gun manufactures responsible for distributing their poison in our neighborhoods to advocating for early childhood education programs such as Early Head Start and making preschool available to more parents, Clinton is on the positive side of history.

We disagree with Clinton’s support for the death penalty, a punishment that disproportionally affects the poor and Blacks. As Ben Jealous has argued in these pages, Clinton’s stance is far from what many Democrats, including her opponent Senator Bernie Sanders, believe. We hope her encounter with a former death row prisoner who was eventually found innocent of the crimes he was accused of, prompts her to rethink her position.

There is a chance the Democrats can retake the Senate this Fall, especially if either billionaire businessman Donald Trump or Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas becomes the Republican presidential nominee.

With a likely Supreme Court seat to fill and a House that will continue to fight against any and all legislation introduced by Democrats, America needs a strong leader willing to take on Republicans. Hillary Clinton is that person.


AFRO Endorses Glenn Ivey For Maryland 4th Congressional District

Glenn Ivey has thrown his hat into the ring for the Maryland 4th Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives –and we support his decision.

Ivey is the former Prince George’s County State’s Attorney (2003-2011). His distinguished record includes prosecuting unlawful police officers in Prince George’s County, initiating an effort in the county for law enforcement reform, fighting domestic violence, pioneering reentry programs for ex-offenders, mentoring youth and improving senior programs.

According to an AFRO questionnaire, Ivey said he would continue to work towards full funding for prisoner reentry programs and support federal investment in local housing through HUD and economic development grants. Ivey also stipulated several areas in the 4th District that needed to be addressed by Congress including various housing policies, law enforcement reform, transportation funding, education improvements, job creation and infrastructure.

Even though Ivey’s top Democratic competitor Anthony Brown, the former lieutenant governor for Maryland, submitted a detailed response to the AFRO questionnaire, Ivey’s questionnaire was impressive because it outlined, in specific detail, the solutions that were needed to mend police and community interactions within the district.

Ivey’s congressional experience includes working for Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.), and former Maryland Senator Tom Daschle.

Ivey also said he aspires to preserve President Obama’s accomplishments and to prevent Republicans from cutting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and health programs in the Affordable Care Act.

The AFRO endorses Ivey because we believe that his congressional, political and litigation experience would enable him to effectively work in Congress to address law enforcement, crime and economic issues to better serve the residents of the 4th Congressional District.

We also believe his previous experience working for various Congressmen and his passionate advocacy while State’s Attorney on issues affecting residents in his District will enable him to hit the ground running on legislation that will benefit working class individuals and families in Prince George’s and Anne Arundel Counties.


AFRO Endorses Donna Edwards For U.S. Senate

African American residents in Maryland deserve a congressional representative who will speak forcefully on their behalf, someone who is not afraid to take on tough issues, someone who will not shrink during criticism.

The AFRO believes that person is Rep. Donna Edwards.

Edwards, who represents the 4th Congressional District of Maryland, is running for a Maryland seat in the U.S. Senate. She could become the first Black woman to represent Maryland in Congress.

Over the years, Edwards has supported critical issues that have helped improve the quality of life for African Americans in Maryland.

While serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, she has accomplished several milestones, including securing $3 million for the Purple Line metro system, which connects Prince George’s County to Montgomery County.

The transportation system recently received funding approval from Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) on March 2. According to an AFRO questionnaire, she also secured a provision that holds insurance companies accountable for unjustifiable rate increases and passed a bipartisan NASA reauthorization that supports 10,000 jobs in Maryland. Prior to her congressional career, Edwards as an activist, led an effort to get the Violence Against Women Act passed in 1994 during the Clinton administration. Thereafter, she worked for the 1996 passage of the Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban which bars accused and convicted domestic abusers from possessing guns.

The AFRO applauds Edwards’ efforts to protect Maryland residents. During an interview with the AFRO, Edwards said she will work hard to tackle the racial tension related to over-policing in Baltimore by changing the way residents view police officers.

Edwards said she intends to increase police training for law enforcers in Maryland and she wants to enforce the use of body cameras for all police officers.

She also plans to eliminate sentencing disparities throughout the state, and work with legislators to offer more affordable housing that will benefit working class families.

The AFRO believes that Edwards’ previous experience as a public interest advocate, co-founding the National Network to End Domestic Violence, and working in the private sector to advance the STEM fields, will make her a formidable senator who will work tirelessly for Maryland residents.


AFRO Endorses Sheila Dixon For Mayor of Baltimore

Sheila Dixon possesses the knowledge and experience Baltimore needs to navigate the city’s post-uprising world.

The events of last April did not happen suddenly; they were a slow-motion crash many people warned about. Now that the chaos and dysfunction of the city, and its government, are exposed; the question is who is best positioned to lead Baltimore going forward.

It will take some time to repair Baltimore’s image and problems but we believe Dixon is the person to initiate the badly needed positive changes. Dixon plans to triple the spending for training city workers and she plans to encourage local businesses to hire more city residents while ensuring police are more effectively engaged in the communities they serve.

Her opponents, particularly Catherine E. Pugh, DeRay McKesson, Calvin Young III, Elizabeth Embry and David Warnock, have brought compelling ideas to the table that we hope she incorporates into her administration.

McKesson is a thoughtful voice for school reform, Embry has a great understanding of the criminal justice system and the reform it desperately needs, Warnock is a long term advocate for integrating returning citizens into society and Young has progressive views on how Baltimore can compete in a world where technological know-how is not a luxury but a necessity. Catherine E. Pugh giving up the seniority and power she wields as a state senator would be a loss for Baltimore that the city can not afford.

As for the circumstances that lead to her leaving the mayor’s office in 2010, Dixon has apologized and moved on, and as have we. In the intervening years she has worked with the Maryland Minorities Contractors Association ensuring that women and people of color have equal opportunity to compete with bigger firms, among other things.

Of all of the mayoral candidates, Dixon impressed us by her being the only person who has held the reins of mayoral power and with her knowledge of how the bureaucracy of the city works. She has indicated that every agency, especially the police department and the department of housing, need audits to accurately establish a starting point for improvements.

On day one, we believe Dixon will be prepared to make the necessary progressive changes to move Baltimore forward.