"Honestly, I love the art of Hip-Hop. I don’t always love the message of Hip-Hop. Hip-Hop is not just a mirror of what is. It should be a mirror of what can be. A lot of people say, ‘I want to be real. I want to be down. Then we’re just trapped in 'What is.'
Imagine something different. Imagine communities that aren’t torn up by violence. Imagine that we’re respecting our women. Imagine communities where knowledge and reading and academic excellence are valued, communities where fathers are doing right by their kids. Art can’t just be a rearview mirror. It should have a headlight on there pointing to where we need to go." - Barack Obama
"I think people just wanna take their excitement and turn it into something tangible and just something that can actually contribute into getting this guy into office." - Jin
"I'm in full support of that brother. He has a great mind and I think he's for the people, man. I think we need that. We need someone that's thinking forward and thinking peaceful and thinking about people of all walks of life — not just the rich." - Common
"His youth, his being black, the way that he speaks, the way that he lays out his point of view. It's someone who looks more like you. I don't mean black, but I mean the young thing. And his name is Barack Obama. This country is becoming more and more multicultural." - Talib Kweli
"It was Obama's speech in New Hampshire. I was watching it. It inspired me. It made me reflect on myself and the freedoms I had, going to school where I went to school, and the people who came before Obama like Martin Luther King and presidents like Abraham Lincoln." - Will.i.am
"We are on the brink of moving past our stigmas and preconceived thoughts to make a substantive decision for change. The change is Barack Obama." - Q-Tip
"I think he's what the future of America is going to be. Barack represents what I feel is the future of the optimum survival of America." - Will Smith
"He's a great speaker. He knows how to motivate a crowd. I believe we need somebody strong like that, especially coming off of somebody who's not so great of a speaker. You've got to be able to motivate your country. I believe he can do that." - Nick Cannon
"Obama won the Iowa caucus by inspiring more young people and women to vote than any previous presidential candidate. How could it not be impressive to see the new Bobby Kennedy of our day in the White House?" - Rhymefest
''We talked about empowering the youth. [Meeting Obama] was like meeting with a relative." - Ludacris
"I hope [America] is smart enough to pick the best person. Right now, it looks like nobody is better than Obama." - Ice Cube
"Join the movement to make America our's and create a brighter future for America's youth. Barack needs you. I need you. We need you. I, Usher, am voting for Barack Obama." - Usher
"I'm proud to support Senator Obama for President. I respect his integrity and trust his judgment. I agree with his stances on the major issues, particularly his principled stand to oppose the administration's ill-advised decision to invade Iraq, even when this was not a popular position. I believe he will be the man to restore our pride in this country. He is the kind of leader we need in these trying times." - John Legend
Barack Obama's Plan to Combat Poverty
Poverty Rising: There are nearly 37 million poor Americans. Most Americans living in poverty work, but still cannot afford to make ends meet.
Minimum Wage is Not Enough: Even when a parent works full-time earning minimum wage and EITC and food stamps are factored into their income, families are still $1, 550 below the federal poverty line because of the flat-lined minimum wage.
Barack Obama's Plan
Expand Access to Jobs
- Help Americans Grab a Hold of and Climb the Job Ladder: Obama will invest $1 billion over five years in transitional jobs and career pathway programs that implement proven methods of helping low-income Americans succeed in the workforce.
- Create a Green Jobs Corps: Obama will create a program to directly engage disadvantaged youth in energy efficiency opportunities to strengthen their communities, while also providing them with practical skills in this important high-growth career field.
- Improve Transportation Access to Jobs: As president, Obama will work to ensure that low-income Americans have transportation access to jobs. Obama will double the federal Jobs Access and Reverse Commute program to ensure that additional federal public transportation dollars flow to the highest-need communities and that urban planning initiatives take this aspect of transportation policy into account.
- Reduce Crime Recidivism by Providing Ex-Offender Supports: Obama will work to ensure that ex-offenders have access to job training, substance abuse and mental health counseling, and employment opportunities. Obama will also create a prison-to-work incentive program and reduce barriers to employment.
Make Work Pay for All Americans
- Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit: Obama will increase the number of working parents eligible for EITC benefits, increase the benefits available to parents who support their children through child support payments, increase benefits for families with three or more children, and reduce the EITC marriage penalty, which hurts low-income families.
- Create a Living Wage: Obama will raise the minimum wage and index it to inflation to make sure that full-time workers can earn a living wage that allows them to raise their families and pay for basic needs such as food, transportation, and housing.
- Provide Tax Relief: Obama will provide all low and middle-income workers a $500 Making Work Pay tax credit to offset the payroll tax those workers pay in every paycheck. Obama will also eliminate taxes for seniors making under $50, 000 per year.
- Promote Responsible Fatherhood: Obama will sign into law his Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families Act to remove some of the government penalties on married families, crack down on men avoiding child support payments, and ensure that payments go to families instead of state bureaucracies.
- Support Parents with Young Children: Obama will expand the highly-successful Nurse-Family Partnership to all 570, 000 low-income, first-time mothers each year. The Nurse-Family Partnership provides home visits by trained registered nurses to low-income expectant mothers and their families.
- Expand Paid Sick Days: Today, three-out-of-four low-wage workers have no paid sick days. Obama supports guaranteeing workers seven paid sick days per year.
Increase the Supply of Affordable Housing
- Create an Affordable Housing Trust Fund: Obama will create an Affordable Housing Trust Fund to develop affordable housing in mixed-income neighborhoods.
- Fully Fund the Community Development Block Grant: Obama will fully fund the Community Development Block Grant program and engage with urban leaders across the country to increase resources to the highest-need Americans.
Tackle Concentrated Poverty
- Establish 20 Promise Neighborhoods: Obama will create 20 Promise Neighborhoods in areas that have high levels of poverty and crime and low levels of student academic achievement in cities across the nation. The Promise Neighborhoods will be modeled after the Harlem Children's Zone, which provides a full network of services, including early childhood education, youth violence prevention efforts and after-school activities, to an entire neighborhood from birth to college.
- Ensure Community-Based Investment Resources in Every Urban Community: Obama will work with community and business leaders to identify and address the unique economic development barriers of every major metropolitan area. Obama will provide additional resources to the federal Community Development Financial Institution Fund, the Small Business Administration and other federal agencies, especially to their local branch offices, to address community needs.
- Invest in Rural Areas: Obama will invest in rural small businesses and fight to expand high-speed Internet access. He will improve rural schools and attract more doctors to rural areas.
Barack Obama's Record
- Tax Relief for Low-Income Working Families: Obama created the Illinois Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income working families in 2000 and successfully sponsored a measure to make the credit permanent in 2003. The law offered about $105 million in tax relief over three years.
- Housing: In the Illinois State Senate, Obama championed multiple pieces of legislation to help low-income families find adequate affordable housing.
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Barack Obama's Plan to Strengthen Civil Rights
Pay Inequity Continues: For every $1.00 earned by a man, the average woman receives only 77 cents, while African American women only get 67 cents and Latinas receive only 57 cents.
Hate Crimes on the Rise: The number of hate crimes increased nearly 8 percent to 7, 700 incidents in 2006.
Efforts Continue to Suppress the Vote: A recent study discovered numerous organized efforts to intimidate, mislead and suppress minority voters.
Disparities Continue to Plague Criminal Justice System: African Americans and Hispanics are more than twice as likely as whites to be searched, arrested, or subdued with force when stopped by police. Disparities in drug sentencing laws, like the differential treatment of crack as opposed to powder cocaine, are unfair.
Barack Obama's Plan
Strengthen Civil Rights Enforcement
Obama will reverse the politicization that has occurred in the Bush Administration's Department of Justice. He will put an end to the ideological litmus tests used to fill positions within the Civil Rights Division.
Combat Employment Discrimination
Obama will work to overturn the Supreme Court's recent ruling that curtails racial minorities' and women's ability to challenge pay discrimination. Obama will also pass the Fair Pay Act to ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work.
Expand Hate Crimes Statutes
Obama will strengthen federal hate crimes legislation and reinvigorate enforcement at the Department of Justice's Criminal Section.
End Deceptive Voting Practices
Obama will sign into law his legislation that establishes harsh penalties for those who have engaged in voter fraud and provides voters who have been misinformed with accurate and full information so they can vote.
End Racial Profiling
Obama will ban racial profiling by federal law enforcement agencies and provide federal incentives to state and local police departments to prohibit the practice.
Reduce Crime Recidivism by Providing Ex-Offender Support
Obama will provide job training, substance abuse and mental health counseling to ex-offenders, so that they are successfully re-integrated into society. Obama will also create a prison-to-work incentive program to improve ex-offender employment and job retention rates.
Eliminate Sentencing Disparities
Obama believes the disparity between sentencing crack and powder-based cocaine is wrong and should be completely eliminated.
Expand Use of Drug Courts
Obama will give first-time, non-violent offenders a chance to serve their sentence, where appropriate, in the type of drug rehabilitation programs that have proven to work better than a prison term in changing bad behavior.
Barack Obama's Record
Record of Advocacy: Obama has worked to promote civil rights and fairness in the criminal justice system throughout his career. As a community organizer, Obama helped 150, 000 African Americans register to vote. As a civil rights lawyer, Obama litigated employment discrimination, housing discrimination, and voting rights cases. As a State Senator, Obama passed one of the country's first racial profiling law and helped reform a broken death penalty system. And in the U.S. Senate, Obama has been a leading advocate for protecting the right to vote, helping to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act and leading the opposition against discriminatory barriers to voting.
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Barack Obama's World Class Education Plan
No Child Left Behind Left the Money Behind: The goal of the law was the right one, but unfulfilled funding promises, inadequate implementation by the Education Department and shortcomings in the design of the law itself have limited its effectiveness and undercut its support. As a result, the law has failed to provide high-quality teachers in every classroom and failed to adequately support and pay those teachers.
Students Left Behind: Six million middle and high school students read significantly below their grade level. A full third of high school graduates do not immediately go on to college. American 15 year olds rank 28th out of 40 countries in mathematics and 19th out of 40 countries in science. Almost 30 percent of students in their first year of college are forced to take remedial science and math classes because they are not prepared.
High Dropout Rate: America has one of the highest dropout rates in the industrialized world. Only 70 percent of U.S. high school students graduate with a diploma. African American and Latino students are significantly less likely to graduate than white students.
Teacher Retention is a Problem: Thirty percent of new teachers leave within their first five years in the profession.
Soaring College Costs: College costs have grown nearly 40 percent in the past five years. The average graduate leaves college with over $19, 000 in debt. And between 2001 and 2010, 2 million academically qualified students will not go to college because they cannot afford it. Finally, our complicated maze of tax credits and applications leaves too many students unaware of financial aid available to them.
Barack Obama's Plan
Early Childhood Education
- Zero to Five Plan: Obama's comprehensive "Zero to Five" plan will provide critical support to young children and their parents. Unlike other early childhood education plans, Obama's plan places key emphasis at early care and education for infants, which is essential for children to be ready to enter kindergarten. Obama will create Early Learning Challenge Grants to promote state "zero to five" efforts and help states move toward voluntary, universal pre-school.
- Expand Early Head Start and Head Start: Obama will quadruple Early Head Start, increase Head Start funding and improve quality for both.
- Affordable, High-Quality Child Care: Obama will also provide affordable and high-quality child care to ease the burden on working families.
- Reform No Child Left Behind: Obama will reform NCLB, which starts by funding the law. Obama believes teachers should not be forced to spend the academic year preparing students to fill in bubbles on standardized tests. He will improve the assessments used to track student progress to measure readiness for college and the workplace and improve student learning in a timely, individualized manner. Obama will also improve NCLB's accountability system so that we are supporting schools that need improvement, rather than punishing them.
- Make Math and Science Education a National Priority: Obama will recruit math and science degree graduates to the teaching profession and will support efforts to help these teachers learn from professionals in the field. He will also work to ensure that all children have access to a strong science curriculum at all grade levels.
- Address the Dropout Crisis: Obama will address the dropout crisis by passing his legislation to provide funding to school districts to invest in intervention strategies in middle school strategies such as personal academic plans, teaching teams, parent involvement, mentoring, intensive reading and math instruction, and extended learning time.
- Expand High-Quality Afterschool Opportunities: Obama will double funding for the main federal support for afterschool programs, the 21st Century Learning Centers program, to serve one million more children.
- Expand Summer Learning Opportunities: Obama's "STEP UP" plan addresses the achievement gap by supporting summer learning opportunities for disadvantaged children through partnerships between local schools and community organizations.
- Support College Outreach Programs: Obama supports outreach programs like GEAR UP, TRIO and Upward Bound to encourage more young people from low-income families to consider and prepare for college.
- Support English Language Learners: Obama supports transitional bilingual education and will help Limited English Proficient students get ahead by holding schools accountable for making sure these students complete school.
- Recruit Teachers: Obama will create new Teacher Service Scholarships that will cover four years of undergraduate or two years of graduate teacher education, including high-quality alternative programs for mid-career recruits in exchange for teaching for at least four years in a high-need field or location.
- Prepare Teachers: Obama will require all schools of education to be accredited. He will also create a voluntary national performance assessment so we can be sure that every new educator is trained and ready to walk into the classroom and start teaching effectively. Obama will also create Teacher Residency Programs that will supply 30, 000 exceptionally well-prepared recruits to high-need schools.
- Retain Teachers: To support our teachers, Obama's plan will expand mentoring programs that pair experienced teachers with new recruits. He will also provide incentives to give teachers paid common planning time so they can collaborate to share best practices.
- Reward Teachers: Obama will promote new and innovative ways to increase teacher pay that are developed with teachers, not imposed on them. Districts will be able to design programs that reward accomplished educators who serve as a mentor to new teachers with a salary increase. Districts can reward teachers who work in underserved places like rural areas and inner cities. And if teachers consistently excel in the classroom, that work can be valued and rewarded as well.
- Create the American Opportunity Tax Credit: Obama will make college affordable for all Americans by creating a new American Opportunity Tax Credit. This universal and fully refundable credit will ensure that the first $4, 000 of a college education is completely free for most Americans, and will cover two-thirds the cost of tuition at the average public college or university and make community college tuition completely free for most students. Obama will also ensure that the tax credit is available to families at the time of enrollment by using prior year's tax data to deliver the credit when tuition is due.
- Simplify the Application Process for Financial Aid: Obama will streamline the financial aid process by eliminating the current federal financial aid application and enabling families to apply simply by checking a box on their tax form, authorizing their tax information to be used, and eliminating the need for a separate application.
Barack Obama's Record
Record of Advocacy: Obama has been a leader on educational issues throughout his career. In the Illinois State Senate, Obama was a leader on early childhood education, helping create the state's Early Learning Council. In the U.S. Senate, Obama has been a leader in working to make college more affordable. His very first bill sought to increase the maximum Pell Grant award to $5, 100. As a member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee, Obama helped pass legislation to achieve that goal in the recent improvements to the Higher Education Act. Obama has also introduced legislation to create Teacher Residency Programs and to increase federal support for summer learning opportunities.
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Barack Obama's Plans for Urban Policy
Failing Commitment to America's Economic Centers: Today, government programs aimed at strengthening metropolitan areas are spread across the federal government with insufficient coordination or strategy. Worse, many federal programs inadvertently undermine cities and regions by encouraging inefficient and costly patterns of development and local competition.
Barack Obama's Plan
Strengthen Federal Commitment to our Cities
- Create a White House Office on Urban Policy: Obama will create a White House Office of Urban Policy to develop a strategy for metropolitan America and to ensure that all federal dollars targeted to urban areas are effectively spent on the highest-impact programs. The Director of Urban Policy will report directly to the president and coordinate all federal urban programs.
- Fully Fund the Community Development Block Grant: In the long run, regions are only as strong as their people and neighborhoods. The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program is an important program that provides housing and creating jobs primarily for low- and moderate-income people and places. Barack Obama has fought against Bush Administration cuts to the CDBG program and, as president, he will restore funding for the CDBG program.
- Do No Harm: Barack Obama does not support imposing unfunded mandates on states and localities. Obama strongly supports providing necessary funding for programs such as No Child Left Behind.
Stimulate Economic Prosperity in our Metropolitan Regions
- Support Job Creation: The federal government has a role to play to ensure that every American is able to work at his or her highest capacity. Barack Obama will double federal funding for basic research, expand the deployment of broadband technology and make the research and development tax credit permanent so that businesses can invest in innovation and create high-paying, secure jobs.
- Enhance Workforce Training: Obama will make long-term investments in education, language training, and workforce development so that Americans can leverage our strengths – our ingenuity and entrepreneurialism – to create new high-wage jobs and prosper in a global economy. A critical part of this process is ensuring that we reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and ensure that it strengthens federal investments needed for success in the 21st Century.
- Increase Access to Capital for Underserved Businesses: Barack Obama will strengthen Small Business Administration programs that provide capital to women and minority-owned businesses, support outreach programs that help business owners apply for loans, and work to encourage the growth and capacity of these firms. Obama will also strengthen Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), which are engaged in innovative methods to provide capital to urban businesses.
- Create a National Network of Public-Private Business Incubators: Barack Obama will support entrepreneurship and spur job growth by creating a national network of public-private business incubators, which facilitate the critical work of entrepreneurs in creating start-up companies. Obama will invest $250 million per year to increase the number and size of incubators in urban communities throughout the country.
- Convert our Manufacturing Centers into Clean Technology Leaders: America boasts the highest-skilled manufacturing workforce in the world and advanced manufacturing facilities that have powered economic growth in America for decades. Barack Obama believes that America is at a competitive advantage when it comes to building the high-demand technologies of the future, and he will help nurture America's success in clean technology manufacturing by establishing a federal investment program to help manufacturing centers modernize.
- Strengthen Core Infrastructure: Barack Obama will make strengthening our transportation systems, including our roads and bridges, a top priority. As part of this effort, Obama will create a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank to expand and enhance, not supplant, existing federal transportation investments. These projects will create up to two million new direct and indirect jobs per year and stimulate approximately $35 billion per year in new economic activity.
- Improve Access to Jobs: America's families and businesses depend upon workers having reasonable access to their places of employment. Barack Obama will double the federal Jobs Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) program to ensure that additional federal public transportation dollars flow to the highest-need communities and that urban planning initiatives take this aspect of transportation policy into account. The Obama urban agenda will also help facilitate the creation of new jobs in underserved economic areas, so more low-income urban residents can find employment within their home communities.
- Invest in a Skilled Clean Technologies Workforce: Obama will increase funding for federal workforce training programs and direct these programs to incorporate green technologies training, such as advanced manufacturing and weatherization training, into their efforts to help Americans find and retain stable jobs. Obama will also create an energy-focused youth jobs program to invest in disconnected and disadvantaged youth.
- Create a New FHA Housing Security Program: Barack Obama believes we must ensure that the American dream of homeownership can continue. Obama strongly supports the efforts of Senate Banking Committee Chair Chris Dodd (D–CT) to create a new Federal Housing Administration (FHA) program that will provide meaningful incentives for lenders to buy or refinance existing mortgages and convert them into stable 30-year fixed mortgages.
- Create Fund to Help Homeowners Avoid Foreclosures: Obama will create a Foreclosure Prevention Fund to help people refinance their mortgages and provide comprehensive supports to innocent homeowners. The fund will also assist individuals who purchased homes that are simply too expensive for their income levels by helping them sell their homes. The fund will be partially paid for by Obama's increased penalties on lenders who acted irresponsibly and committed fraud.
- Lower People's Interest Payments by Creating a New Mortgage Interest Tax Credit: Many middle class Americans do not receive the existing mortgage interest tax deduction because they do not itemize their taxes. Obama will ensure that middle-class Americans get the financial assistance they need to purchase or keep their own home by creating a 10 percent universal mortgage credit that gives tax relief to 10 million Americans who have a home mortgage.
- Provide an Additional $10 Billion of Mortgage Revenue Bond Authority: Mortgage Revenue Bonds (MRBs) are used to refinance subprime loans and provide mortgages for first time homebuyers. Barack Obama will provide $10 billion in additional MRBs. According to the National Association of Home Builders, every new mortgage revenue bond home loan produces almost two full-time jobs, $75,000 in additional wages and salaries and $41,000 in new federal, state and local revenues.
- Increase the Supply of Affordable Housing throughout Metropolitan Regions: Communities prosper when all families have access to affordable housing. Barack Obama will create an Affordable Housing Trust Fund to develop affordable housing in mixed-income neighborhoods. The Affordable Housing Trust Fund would use a small percentage of the profits of two government-sponsored housing agencies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to create thousands of new units of affordable housing every year. Barack Obama will also restore cuts to public housing operating subsidies, and ensure that all Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs are restored to their original purpose.
- Establish 'Promise Neighborhoods' for Areas of Concentrated Poverty: Successful strategies to address concentrated, intergenerational poverty are comprehensive in nature and address the full range of obstacles that stand in the way of poor children. One highly-acclaimed model is the Harlem Children's Zone in New York City, which provides a full network of services to an entire neighborhood from birth to college. Obama will create 20 Promise Neighborhoods in cities that have high levels of poverty and crime and low levels of student academic achievement.
- Increase the Minimum Wage: As president, Obama will raise the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour by 2011 and index it to inflation so full-time workers can earn a living wage that allows them to raise their families and pay for basic needs such as food, transportation, and housing – things so many people take for granted.
- Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit: In the Illinois State Senate, Obama led the successful effort to create the $100 million Illinois Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). As president, Obama will reward work by increasing the number of working parents eligible for EITC benefits, increasing the benefit available to noncustodial parents who support their children through child support payments, increasing the benefit for families with three or more children, and reducing the EITC marriage penalty which hurts low-income families.
- Help Low-Income Workers Enter the Job Market: As president, Obama will invest $1 billion over five years in transitional jobs and career pathways programs that implement proven methods of helping low-income Americans succeed in the workforce. This investment will be coupled with other measures to encourage the private sector and state and local governments to increase their support of these effective employment programs.
STRENGTHEN LIVABILITY OF CITIES
- Build More Livable and Sustainable Communities: Our communities will better serve all of their residents if we are able to leave our cars, to walk, bicycle and access other transportation alternatives. As president, Barack Obama will re-evaluate the transportation funding process to ensure that smart growth considerations are taken into account.
- Control Superfund Sites and .. As president, Obama will restore the strength of the Superfund program by requiring polluters to pay for the cleanup of contaminated sites they created.
- Use Innovative Measures to Dramatically Improve Efficiency of Buildings: Buildings account for nearly 40 percent of carbon emissions in the United States today and carbon emissions from buildings are expected to grow faster than emissions from other major parts of our economy. It is expected that 15 million new buildings will be constructed between today and 2015. Barack Obama will work with cities so that we make our new and existing buildings more efficient consumers of electricity.
- Foster Healthy Communities: How a community is designed – including the layout of its roads, buildings and parks – has a huge impact on the health of its residents. For instance, nearly one-third of Americans live in neighborhoods without sidewalks and less than half of our country's children have a playground within walking distance of their homes. Barack Obama introduced the Healthy Places Act to help local governments assess the health impact of new policies and projects, like highways or shopping centers.
- Support Teachers in Urban Schools: Barack Obama values teachers and the central role that they play in education. To ensure competent, effective teachers in schools that are organized for success, Obama's K-12 plan will expand service scholarships to underwrite high-quality preparation for teachers who commit to working in underserved districts and support ongoing improvements in teacher education.
- Expand Early Childhood Education: Obama has a comprehensive "Zero to Five" plan to provide critical supports to young children and their parents by investing $10 billion per year to create: Early Learning Challenge Grants to stimulate and help fund state "zero to five" efforts; quadruple the number of eligible children for Early Head Start and increase Head Start funding and improve quality for both; work to ensure all children have access to pre-school; and create a Presidential Early Learning Council to increase collaboration and program coordination across federal, state, and local levels.
- Reduce the High School Dropout Rate: The warning signs for high school drop-outs often occur well before high school. Obama will sign into law his "Success in the Middle Act" to improve the education of middle school students in low-performing schools. Obama will also establish a competitive grant process for entities pursuing evidence-based models that have been proven to reduce dropouts.
CRIME AND LAW ENFORCEMENT
- Support Local Law Enforcement: Barack Obama is committed to fully funding the COPS program to combat crime and help address police brutality and accountability issues in local communities. Obama also supports efforts to encourage young people to enter the law enforcement profession, so that our local police departments are not understaffed because of a dearth of qualified applicants.
- Reduce Crime Recidivism by Providing Ex-Offender Supports: America is facing an incarceration and post-incarceration crisis in urban communities. Obama will create a prison-to-work incentive program, modeled on the successful Welfare-to-Work Partnership and work to reform correctional systems to break down barriers for ex-offenders to find employment.
- End the Dangerous Cycle of Youth Violence: As president, Barack Obama will support innovative local programs, such as the CeaseFire program in Chicago, that have been proven to work. Such programs implement a comprehensive public health approach that implements a community-based strategy to prevent youth violence. He will also double funding for federal afterschool programs and invest in 20 Promise Neighborhoods across the country to ensure that urban youth have meaningful opportunities to succeed.
- Address Gun Violence in Cities: As president, Barack Obama would repeal the Tiahrt Amendment, which restricts the ability of local law enforcement to access important gun trace information, and give police officers across the nation the tools they need to solve gun crimes and fight the illegal arms trade. Obama also favors commonsense measures that respect the Second Amendment rights of gun owners, while keeping guns away from children and from criminals who shouldn't have them. He supports closing the gun show loophole and making guns in this country childproof. He also supports making the expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent, as such weapons belong on foreign battlefields and not on our streets.
- End Racial Profiling: Barack Obama cosponsored federal legislation to ban racial profiling and require federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to take steps to eliminate the practice. He introduced and passed a law in the Illinois State Senate requiring the Illinois Department of Transportation to record the race, age, and gender of all drivers stopped for traffic violations so that bias could be detected and addressed.
STRENGTHEN HOMELAND SECURITY
- Allocate Funds Based on Risk: Barack Obama believes that the president and Congress should direct our precious homeland security dollars according to risk, not as a form of general revenue sharing. To address this pressing issue, Obama introduced an amendment, supported by the Families of 9/11 and former 9/11 Commissioners Lee Hamilton and Tim Roemer, to increase risk-based funding in the 9/11 bill.
- Prepare Effective Emergency Response Plans: As our nation witnessed in the Hurricane Katrina crisis and its aftermath, too many localities do not have integrated emergency response plans to handle disasters. As president, Obama will further improve coordination between all levels of government, create better evacuation plan guidelines, ensure prompt federal assistance to emergency zones, and increase medical surge capacity.
- Improve Interoperable Communications Systems: Barack Obama supports efforts to provide greater technical assistance to local and state first responders and dramatically increase funding for reliable, interoperable communications systems.
- Safeguard Mass Public Transportation: Every weekday, Americans take 34 million trips on public transportation systems to get to work, school and beyond. Obama will fight for greater information-sharing between national intelligence agents and local officials and provide local law enforcement agencies with the everyday tools they need to protect their transportation systems.
- Provide a Tax Cut for Working Families: Barack Obama will restore fairness to the tax code and provide 150 million workers the tax relief they deserve. Obama will create a new "Making Work Pay" tax credit of up to $500 per person, or $1,000 per working family.
- Strengthening Fatherhood and Families: Since 1960, the number of American children without fathers in their lives has quadrupled, from 6 million to more than 24 million. As president, Obama will sign his Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families Act into law to remove some of the government penalties on married families, crack down on men avoiding child support payments, ensure that support payments go to families instead of state bureaucracies, fund support services for fathers and their families, and support domestic violence prevention efforts.
- Support Parents with Young Children: Barack Obama would expand the highly successful Nurse-Family Partnership to all low-income, first-time mothers. The Nurse-Family Partnership provides home visits by trained registered nurses to low-income expectant mothers and their families. Researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis concluded that these programs produced an average of five dollars in savings for every dollar invested and produced more than $28,000 in net savings for every high-risk family enrolled in the program.
- Expand High-Quality Afterschool Opportunities: Barack Obama will double funding for the main federal support for afterschool programs, the 21st Century Learning Centers program, to serve one million more children.
- Expand the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit: The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit provides too little relief to families that struggle to afford child care expenses. Barack Obama will reform the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit by making it refundable and allowing low-income families to receive up to a 50 percent credit for their child care expenses.
- Cap Outlandish Interest Rates on Payday Loans and Improve Disclosure: In the wake of reports that some service members were paying 800 percent interest on payday loans, the U.S. Congress took bipartisan action to limit interest rates charged to service members to 36 percent. Barack Obama believes that we must extend this protection to all Americans, because predatory lending continues to be a major problem for low and middle income families alike.
- Encourage Responsible Lending Institutions to Make Small Consumer Loans: Some mainstream, responsible lending institutions are beginning to enter the short-term lending market to provide many Americans with fair alternatives to predatory lending institutions. Barack Obama will work with his Secretary of Treasury and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to encourage banks, credit unions and Community Development Financial Institutions to provide affordable short-term and small dollar loans – and to drive the sharks out of business.
Barack Obama's Record
- Community Development Block Grants: In the U.S. Senate in 2005 and 2006, Obama worked with a bipartisan coalition of Senators to block Administration-proposed cuts to the CDBG program.
- Economic Growth: In 2003, Obama was the chief cosponsor of a successful Illinois State Senate bill establishing the Illinois Investment and Development Authority to support the creation and growth of community development financial institutions. Obama was the chief sponsor of bills that sought to increase the number of Illinois "enterprise zones" and expand the number of years they could be in service. Enterprise zones provide incentives to help stagnant local economies grow.
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About me:The purpose of this page is to combine two things I'm passionate about to help make change happen. Through our love for hip hop, we can educate and motivate people to support and get involved in Senator Obama's campaign for president.
“I'm in this race for the same reason that I fought for jobs for the jobless and hope for the hopeless on the streets of Chicago; for the same reason I fought for justice and equality as a civil rights lawyer; for the same reason that I fought for Illinois families for over a decade… That's why I'm running, Democrats — to keep the American Dream alive for those who still hunger for opportunity, who still thirst for equality.”
— Barack Obama, Speech in Des Moines, IA, November 10, 2007
“The teenagers and college students who left their homes to march in the streets of Birmingham and Montgomery; the mothers who walked instead of taking the bus after a long day of doing somebody else's laundry and cleaning somebody else's kitchen — they didn't brave fire hoses and Billy clubs so that their grandchildren and their great-grandchildren would still wonder at the beginning of the 21st century whether their vote would be counted; whether their civil rights would be protected by their government; whether justice would be equal and opportunity would be theirs. . . . We have more work to do.”
— Barack Obama, Speech at Howard University, September 28, 2007
Who I'd like to meet:
- Status: In a Relationship
- Here for: Networking, Friends
- Orientation: Straight
- Zodiac Sign: Aries
- Children: Someday
- Education: In college