RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and Sen. Rand Paul
December 10, 2013
On Friday, the Michigan Republican Party opened a new political office in Detroit. Some pundits raised their eyebrows: The Motor City isn’t particularly known as a hub for Republican politics or conservative activism.
Yet that’s the point. It hasn’t been, but it should be. And it will be.
Sen. Paul spoke at the office’s opening and later talked with community leaders from the Detroit area about how to help cities in need of economic growth. Chairman Priebus also recently traveled to Detroit for a roundtable with local business leaders. While there, he announced the RNC’s hiring of Wayne Bradley as state director of African-American engagement and the formation of the Michigan Black Advisory Council.
Critics might question our efforts, but as Republicans we believe in fighting for individual freedoms and equal opportunity for all, so we will listen to all voters in all neighborhoods, towns and cities. If a political party wants to have an impact, it can’t be in the business of going only where it already has supporters. It should be in the business of going where it can lend its support to important causes and continue to earn the trust of voters in return.
Republican leaders need to hear from residents about the many challenges they face in Detroit—chief among them job creation and economic opportunities. That’s why Republicans must engage even more in Detroit, talking to people with whom we haven’t connected well in recent years, including the black community and urban voters. We must hear their concerns and offer real solutions to their needs.
Where unemployment is high, we need to offer our ideas for job creation. We have to clear away unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles and advocate for a more efficient, more frugal government. We have to make it easier for people to access capital. We have to encourage, rather than fight, entrepreneurship.
Detroit has spent too many years under the mismanagement of Democrats who kept on spending and kept on increasing the size of the government—until the city went bankrupt. Detroit has learned the hard way that an economic comeback won’t come from higher taxes, more regulation or more government control.
It’s time to give the Republican ideas of free enterprise a try in the Motor City. It’s time we offer real solutions that leave more money in the hands of those who earned it. It’s time for the GOP to share our message of less government and more individual freedom.
The national economy over the past few years has been hard on millions of people across the country, especially in many urban areas. The snail’s pace of economic growth might have been enough for the stock market to recover, but it hasn’t been enough for many families and communities to recover—like Detroit, where the unemployment rate is 16.2 percent.
We need to go to these communities and speak with these families. We need to hear their concerns and work with the local governments to solve problems. Political engagement isn’t just about winning votes; it’s about offering solutions.
If our lawmakers can embrace the principles of freedom and free enterprise, we can do an immense of amount of good. We can give small businesses the freedom to hire more workers by cutting red tape and government mandates. We can give families the freedom to do what’s in their best economic interests by letting them—not bureaucrats—decide everything from what kind of health care they buy to what kind of energy they use. And we can give students the freedom to attend good schools by promoting school choice and recognizing that the needs of students—not adults—should come first in our education system.
That’s what the GOP will work toward in Detroit—as we do throughout the country.
We want to advance our ideas and our values not for our own sake but because we believe these ideas are the best path toward expanded economic opportunities, good jobs, strong families and great schools. The list goes on, and Republican leaders at all levels of government have pioneered different ways to achieve these goals. Now, we need to put those policies and principles into action where they’re needed most.
But first, you have to show up. In Detroit, that’s what we’re doing —and we’re just getting started.
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