Tag Archives: Robert Woodson

Robert Woodson In WSJ Defends Kemp-Ryan

Robert Woodson has an editorial in the Wall Street Journal today, a rebuttal to recent attacks by Ann Coulter on Jack Kemp and Paul Ryan.

Coulter-Sharpton vs. Kemp-Ryan

What racial provocateurs of the right and left don’t understand about how to fight poverty.

Excerpt:

Kemp went on to generate more than $52 million in private and public support, which let resident-managed properties be renovated as a precondition for their sale to residents. One of the resident-group leaders, Bertha Gilkey of the Cochran Gardens development in St. Louis, tallied the achievements made possible by Kemp’s efforts in remarks a few months after his death at the inauguration of the Jack Kemp Foundation on Oct. 21, 2009:

“We took failed businesses, turned them around. We took people off welfare in large numbers and put them to work. We took gang members out of gangs and made them husbands and fathers and responsible citizens who now are giving back to the communities not taking away from them.”

In his last days, Kemp arose from his sick bed to attend a meeting of the board of directors of Howard University, for which he had helped raise funds.

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Strassel: Bring Back the Jack Kemp GOP

Kim Strassel’s piece in the Wall Street Journal today is really good. Enjoy!

Bring Back the Jack Kemp GOP

Republican presidential candidates should embrace the anti-poverty initiatives championed by Kemp and Bob Woodson.

Some 30 years ago, an influential congressman named Jack Kemp gave a call to Bob Woodson, and in doing so became a Republican model for empowerment politics and minority outreach. A high-profile group of conservatives is staging a revival, looking to finally engage the modern left on the politics of the poor. Republican presidential candidates, pay attention.

As Hillary Clinton was rolling out her economic plan Monday—bashing Republicans as callous to the plight of struggling Americans—influential conservatives were taking to their own stage to respond. They know Democrats will make inequality a driving theme of the 2016 race, accusing the GOP of wanting to slash government funding for the needy, of driving policies that hurt the poor.

What they billed as an “anti-poverty summit” in Washington on Monday was a road map. Up on stage, three decades later, was none other than Mr. Woodson, a titan in conservatism on poverty issues. A veteran of the civil-rights fight, Mr. Woodson became disenchanted with the left’s devotion to failed government poverty programs. He started the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, which transforms low-income areas from the inside out.

The philosophy is that low-income individuals and neighborhood organizations must play the central role in fixing their communities, and that these efforts benefit from free-market concepts like competition, entrepreneurship, efficiency and metrics. His first federal partner was Kemp, who embraced and evangelized the Woodson approach starting in the 1980s, using it to pass smart reforms, to champion innovations like “enterprise zones,” and to give his party a model for inspirational, anti-poverty politics. (A model his party quickly forgot.)

Joining Mr. Woodson on stage was (who else?) House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan, a Kemp protégé who a few years ago became awed by CNE’s remarkable track record. The Wisconsin Republican worked the method into a new policy agenda, including his proposal last year to combine and transform federal poverty programs into “opportunity grants” that go to the states, and allow local administrators to get money to groups that actually work.

The message has meanwhile found a broader voice in a new conservative news site, Opportunity Lives, run by John Hart, a former staffer to retired Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn. Its mission is to cover and hail conservative solutions, and it has already produced a high-quality, seven-part documentary called “Comeback” that features inspiring real-life stories out of the Woodson model. More than a half-million people have watched it.

Monday’s event featured all these players, as well as a celebrities such as NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, opinion-makers like National Affairs editor Yuval Levin, and scholars like the Manhattan Institute’s Fred Siegel. It follows a mid-June event at which House Speaker John Boehner offered a private screening of “Comeback,” attended by more than a dozen influential Republican leaders and members. Politicians nationally have requested briefings, and the concept is working its way into political discourse across the country.

The attraction is first and foremost great policy. Federal poverty programs fail because they are one-size-fits-all bureaucracies that keep recipients in dependency. As Mr. Woodson told me in an interview this week, this is because the left has created a poverty-industrial complex, in which most federal dollars go to “those providing the services—the social workers, the drug counselors. That entire structure is hostile to helping the poor, because these folks have their own financial interest.” The Woodson approach works because it is local, tailored, volunteer-oriented and gets money to the needy.

The Woodson approach will also resonate with most Americans, who live and serve in local communities, and understand the power of that over government handouts. It’s also a rebuttal to Democrats like Mrs. Clinton who claim Republicans don’t care. For the Jeb Bushes and Marco Rubios, orienting their campaigns around opportunity, this deserves central billing.

It’s even an inroad to minority voters, though Mr. Woodson warns that Republicans need to go beyond rhetoric. “I keep telling Republicans: Stop assuming the only way to appeal to blacks is through the race door. The untapped opportunity is the broken policies in these urban centers that are strangling the poor. Roll up your sleeves, go into your districts, meet the legitimate leaders, minister to their needs. Recruit the businesses that fund your campaigns to help. Democrats inherited these votes; Republicans have to earn them.”

Mr. Woodson points to politicians like Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who drove reform making it easier for post-prison offenders to get their occupational licenses—and thus a job—and who won 25% of the black vote when re-elected in 2014.

The Kemp drive was influential in the GOP 1990s embrace of welfare reform, and the pity is the party retreated from that space. The 2016 race is a chance to re-embrace it, and give Mrs. Clinton a run for her own rhetoric.

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A Return to Outcry in the Barrio

I recently visited Outcry in the Barrio in San Antonio again. I have written about what I saw and experienced, I hope you’ll take a look.

Up Close and Personal: A Return to Outcry in the Barrio

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Robert Woodson Interview on The Seth Leibsohn Show

Robert Woodson did a lengthy interview on The Seth Leibsohn Show yesterday. You will enjoy this interview, it’s quite complex on issues of race and poverty.

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Neighborhood Healers

This column has been prepared as part of a reading supplement for the Republican Party of Texas convention in Ft. Worth.

By Artemio Muniz and Steve Parkhurst

Across America, many of our neighborhoods are crumbling, in need of renewal and all hope of achieving the American Dream hangs by a thread.Rather than turning away and assuming someone else will pick up the pieces, there are individuals, who have been termed Neighborhood Healers, who work to pick up those pieces and they change lives and communities in the process.And in the spirit of self reliance and self determination that dominates our great party, these Healers work without the help of any government as they are trying to renew their communities or neighborhoods. This can be in the form of a ministry that heals the fallen, or a citizen who is fed up with the lack of attention paid to a worn down neighborhood and decides to act on his or her own, at their own expense. This can be the mentor who offers guidance to a pupil who needs that one person who cares enough to look eye to eye or soul to soul and make a difference.

Robert Putnam in his books Bowling Alone and Better Together, Robert Woodson in his book The Triumphs of Joseph and William Schambra in his speeches and writings, have all touched upon the root of the American character when people in communities work together to improve lives for those around them.

In late 2008, we started working as a group that would eventually morph into what is today the Federation of Hispanic Republicans. Our early focus as an organization was civic renewal; a re-engagement of individuals in their community. All inspired by the likes of Putnam, Woodson and Schambra.

We traveled from Houston to just south of San Antonio to the city of Von Ormy where we joined with Mayor Art Martinez de Vara in a citywide cleanup, led by Republicans. Over the next few months back in Houston, we continued this sort of work. We joined with other people to find projects that needed help. In one instance, a home needed to be painted and a neighborhood church was offering the paint and supplies, they just lacked the manpower. We teamed up with another local organization and while that house was being painted, the rest of us cleared the neighboring lot and cleaned up the yard of a vacant home.

The most interesting thing to see, was after the work was done. Days, weeks, months later, the people who did the work, those who gave up a Saturday to labor, they were still beaming with pride, satisfaction and most important of all, happiness.

Neighborhood Healers are at work across the state of Texas. Most don’t call themselves Healers, they just go about their work. Most only want attention to point out the problems they’re working hard to remedy. If you really think on it, we all know a Healer like this.

In April, Steve Parkhurst ventured out to San Antonio’s famed Outcry in the Barrio ministry. That visit was previously written about here. As was pointed out in the recap of that visit, Outcry, a faith-based organization, has an astonishingly high success rate in getting addicts off of their substance(s) of choice and back in productive lives, often right in their own communities helping others. No government, whether federal, state, county or city, can claim the kind of success rate that a ministry like Outcry can achieve. Mainly because a place like Outcry is steeped in results after an addict leaves, while governments worry about the numbers enrolled, the number cured or healed is less important.

Ministries like Outcry in the Barrio need help. And Outcry is just one of many.

This past March, we were part of a group across the state that sought to include in the party platform a resolution, whereby the Republican Party of Texas would support the creation and/or development of a Neighborhood Healers Initiative.

With this Initiative, we wanted to show support for, and encourage the recognition of such Neighborhood Healers, and we wanted to make sure Republicans across Texas (and the nation) are doing their part to assist these Healers who are putting our conservative principles into practice on a daily basis.

We felt that as part of this initiative the Republican Party of Texas should start finding, identifying, and recognizing these healers and assure that the Republican Party both locally and statewide is assisting as needed in this community renewal. Because when good people apply deeds, and not just words, to the crises in our neighborhoods, our neighborhoods are better and we all benefit.

And this isn’t about spending money. This is about growing our party; it’s about growing our cause. Raising awareness and encouraging people to look a little deeper into their communities won’t cost one cent.

We want to challenge all the delegates at the state Republican convention to get involved when you return home. Find an individual or organization locally that is putting principles into practice, and help them. Help however you can, with time, money, sweat equity, or even with a little social media promotion.

As Deuteronomy 15:11 tells us, “For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’”

So many Neighborhood Healers have opened wide their hands, they all could use an extra set of hands.

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Five Years Without Jack Kemp

It’s hard to believe it’s been five years.

I remember hearing late in the evening on May 2, 2009 that Jack Kemp had passed away. I was out of town that weekend.

On Monday, May 4, I awoke to hear Bill Bennett Mornings playing loud and clear on my radio. I listened to guest after guest join Mr. Bennett to pay tribute to Jack Kemp as the week began. I was still somewhat groggy when Congressman Paul Ryan was on the show to remember Jack Kemp. I can remember that interview like it was yesterday. I remember Bill Bennett pointing out that Jack Kemp would note that Adam Smith wrote The Wealth of Nations, not The Poverty of Nations. Kemp wanted the focus to be on what worked, not on what failed. Solutions oriented folks operate that way.

Jack Kemp has been in my thoughts a lot lately. As I have gotten a little older and have started to realize that in politics many of the arguments never find resolution, I have been looking closely at some of the work Kemp did to improve the lives of the less fortunate.

Jack Kemp was compassionate, a bleeding heart conservative, and this may have been his greatest gift. Kemp was able to apply a humanitarian view to many of the problems that ailed society simply by showing up. Kemp spent countless hours in places modern Republicans rarely tread. Kemp believed in the American Dream, the belief that in America, every single person had the capacity to reach for the stars, and get there, if they simply wanted it and worked toward it. Kemp wanted a level playing field, rather than viewing America as red or blue and taking a “every man for himself” approach, Kemp wanted to make sure that being trapped was an option, not a predetermination.

I’ve written recently about Congressman Paul Ryan and Robert Woodson, founder of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise. I won’t rehash that work here, you can read it on your own if you like, but it’s worth noting that Bob Woodson worked closely with Kemp, and in turn some twenty years later is working with Congressman Ryan as they both look to address some of the same issues on which Kemp had begun to work. Kemp is no longer with us, but that certainly does not mean his work does not continue.

Finally, Jack Kemp wanted economic growth. Serious, unlimited, no-holds-barred, through-the-roof, economic growth. He figured cutting taxes would spur entrepreneurs and development. Sure, he wasn’t as worried about the deficit side of things, the logic of the day was, if you cut taxes and more people went to work, there would be more people paying in to the government till, and deficits would go down just by their nature. And we have to remember, Jack Kemp helped introduce tax cuts to the Republican platform, tax cuts were not always part of the Republican mantra. If you read a little history from the late 1970’s, you’ll see that Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp had some pretty fierce arguments about tax cuts. Kemp ultimately won the debate, Reagan adopted Kemponomics as Reaganomics, and the 1980’s saw a great economic recovery. The rest is history.

Anyway, on the five year anniversary of Jack Kemp’s passing, I wanted to add my two cents. It may be closer to fifteen cents, and you loyalists will get that and laugh. It’s a hodgepodge of thoughts, but that’s rather the point.

It’s hard to believe it’s been five years…

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Outcry In The Barrio, Neighborhood Healers and a San Antonio Visit

I’ve written something that I won’t post this website for a few weeks, but I wanted to make you aware of it now. Take a look:
Outcry In The Barrio, Neighborhood Healers and a San Antonio Visit.

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