Monday, July 28, 2014

Micah Edmond, a Black Conservative Candidate, Outlines His [Black] Agenda

Most conservatives are afraid to discuss race on the campaign trail, Micah Edmonds, a Republican running for Virginia's 8th congressional district isn't. He proudly mentions ways to help African-Americans on his website.

Micah at the Alfred Street Baptist Church Street Brother's Keeper event.
I represent a new generation of conservative African Americans who believe it is time to stand up and offer real solutions to attack issues that negatively affect minority communities, especially the African American community. It is tragic that since Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream” speech, so many minorities in America have all but given up on their American Dream. There are real obstacles in our system, that require leadership to make change happen now. 

 A positive trait of the American criminal justice system is ensuring we don’t practice cruel, unusual, or excessive punishment. Unfortunately, we have enacted well-intentioned, mandatory minimum laws that have had a negative effect on the minority community, especially African Americans. These laws have led to a disproportionate number of young African Americans being incarcerated for a decade or more for non-violent minor crimes. In contrast, many convicted of violent crimes are eligible for parole in three years. This is not an efficient or fair use of our judicial system. These laws make it hard, if not impossible, for African Americans to re-enter the economy due to their conviction record, lack of stable employment history, and current skill set.

 I support mandatory minimum reform to address these challenges ravaging the African American community. Unfortunately, mandatory minimum reform alone does not provide solutions for those who have served jail time and are currently looking for a job. For those, I support the bi-partisan Record Expungement Designed to Enhance Employment (REDEEM) Act, introduced this week by Republican Senator Rand Paul and Democratic Senator Cory Booker.

The REDEEM Act encourages states to raise the age of criminal responsibly to 18 years of age; expunge or seal the records of juveniles who commit non-violent crimes before they turn 15; and offer the first broad-based federal path to sealing nonviolent criminal records for adults. It also improves the accuracy of FBI background checks providing increased protection to job applicants and restores access to government benefits for certain low-level drug offenders.

 The economy, and particularly the African American community, needs this bi-partisan legislation. As Senator Paul said, "The biggest impediment to civil rights and employment in our country is a criminal record. Our current system is broken and has trapped tens of thousands of young men and women in a cycle of poverty and incarceration." Real solutions like these give minorities a real second chance to pursue the American Dream and it stimulates our economy.

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