RNC Chairman Reince Priebus
National Black Chamber of Commerce Convention
Palm Beach, FL
July 25, 2013
Remarks Excerpts As Prepared For Delivery
Good afternoon. Thank you, Kay, for that introduction.
And thanks to Harry and Dorothy and to the entire Chamber for the invitation. It’s great to be with you. Congratulations on your two decades of success and on the vital work you’re doing.
And let’s have a round of applause for Harry and his dedication to realizing a vision that Booker T. Washington had over a century ago. From your time in Indianapolis till today, you’ve been a true champion for economic opportunity.
As advocates of free enterprise, you’re fighting for opportunity for your communities and giving hope to individuals and families, neighborhoods and cities.
You understand a fundamental truth: Free enterprise is a force for good in this country. Our political leaders should spend more time promoting it and less time standing in its way….
When there are barriers that stand in the way of your businesses thriving, we have to work together to tear them down. When small businesses struggle to get off the ground or expand, let’s find ways to increase access to capital. If we’re going to grow this economy, capital has to be easier to come by.
Part of that is standing up for small, community banks.
You’ve probably all heard Republicans criticize the Dodd-Frank regulations of 2009, and people often think it only affected big banks. But in reality, it had a devastating effect on small banks—the neighborhood banks that should be providing capital to new businesses and enterprising individuals.
The banks on Main Street don’t have the legal teams to navigate the red tape that banks on Wall Street have. Dodd-Frank was supposed to end Too-Big-To-Fail. Instead it created Too-Small-To-Succeed.
And that’s wrong. Because when neighborhood banks struggle, community businesses struggle too.
Meanwhile, government regulation has wrapped your businesses in all sorts of red tape—from energy to healthcare to taxes. That’s not news to you. You feel it every day.
We have to change that because we still need jobs in America. Millions of jobs.
The black community is enduring an unemployment rate far above the national average: 13.7 percent. But America can do better than that….
We need those businesses to thrive, so we can get more people back to work. And young people need to know there are good jobs waiting for them if they stay focused on getting an education.…
The fact is, a good business environment is not enough. Financial capital is not enough. For businesses to succeed, you also need human capital. We need an educated workforce.
Every child deserves a chance to attend a great school....
That’s why Republicans believe so strongly in school choice; school choice is an important tool in fixing the system for everyone.
New Orleans offers us a large-scale example. In the post-Katrina school system, parents and kids get to choose their schools, most of which are charter schools. In just a few years, black students in New Orleans caught up to and have now surpassed their peers in the rest of Louisiana on annual assessments.
A recent Tulane study of New Orleans parents found 90 percent strongly agreed that it’s important to be able to choose their children’s schools,…which is what their current system lets them do.
Simply put, “school choice” is “school fairness.” When you inject a little free market competition into the system, schools old and new see improvement….
…it’s important that our leaders hear from you too. What challenges are you facing that aren’t being addressed? What more can we do? What are the concerns in your community? What have we overlooked?
We need to listen to voters before we can expect them to listen to us… Our party needs to engage more with the black community. We can’t drop in a few months from an election and share a message. We need to be present year-round and share our hearts and our ideas….
Following the guidance of our post-election review (the Growth and Opportunity Project), we’ve completely reshaped our engagement efforts at the RNC to be more community based. We’re hiring from the community so we can get to know the towns, neighborhoods, and churches.
We’re hiring top staff specifically for engaging with the black community…. These teams are state-based and community-based staff; and we’ll have hundreds of people dedicated to minority engagement.
And this is all happening now, in the summer of a non-election year. We’ve never done this before.
The RNC has never before made the commitment to be in communities in “off-years.” But we’re serious about doing things differently; and this is the only way we can share our values—freedom, faith, family … and opportunity….
…I hope that it’s clear that we do want to earn your trust and your vote….and that we can find common ground on which we can build a better future.
I hope that we can work together to guarantee opportunity for all Americans…because we’re a party that believes in unlimited opportunity for everyone.
Thank you so much….
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