Commentary

Texas Legislative Black Caucus focuses on self-sufficiency a Possible Presidential Candidate

AUSTIN, Texas (NNPA)—Former U.S. Sen. Carol Mosely-Braun, in a surprise visit to the annual Texas Black Legislative Caucus meeting here recently, drew a standing ovation with an unofficial announcement of her intent to run for president in 2004. AUSTIN, Texas (NNPA)—Former U.S. Sen. Carol Mosely-Braun, in a surprise visit to the annual Texas Black Legislative Caucus meeting here recently, drew a standing ovation with an unofficial announcement of her intent to run for president in 2004.

“I have the background and experience in state and local government,” Mosely-Braun told a caucus luncheon attended by about 200. “I believe we can get this country back on the right track and I hope I can give a message of hope and encouragement to people who want to see some fiscal discipline and efforts to bring us together as a country, to make America work for everybody.”

Mosely-Braun served as the nation’s second Black senator since Reconstruction from 1992-98. She served as U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand, where she watched the controversial 2000 elections. She said the feedback upon her return planted the seed toward her decision.

“I discovered a lot of people thought their votes didn’t’ count,” she said. “I think restoring that voice and reinvigorating that hope among the American people is what is most at stake in this next presidential election.”

She said she will officially announce her candidacy in the coming weeks.
Another highlight of the caucus was during the annual black tie gala, when keynote speaker Martin Luther King III gave his perspectives on the state of Black America. His thoughts were direct to the 400 in attendance. King stated:

“We’ve built taller buildings, but shorter temples;
Wider freeways, but with narrower minds;
We spend more but have less;
We buy more, but enjoy less;
We have more conveniences, but fewer haves;
We have more degrees, but less sense;
We have more experts, but more problems;
We multiplied our professions, but reduced our values;
We know how to make a living, but not a life;
We conquered outer space, but not necessarily our inner space;
We’ve done larger things, but not necessarily better things;
We cleaned the air, but polluted our souls;
We split the atom, but not our prejudice;
We have higher income, but lower morals;
We have fancier houses, but broken homes;
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, stay up too late, read too seldom, watch too much television and we pray too seldom.”

King’s speech also reflected the tone of the conference, theme “Without Vision, The People Perish.” While acknowledging the continuing need to fight against discriminating policies and practices in the state, the sessions and other activities seemed to lean more toward a self-determination spirit and the necessity for African-American to do for themselves.

“There was an election last November where some of us were involved and some of us were not, certainly not enough of us,” said King.

Sponsored by the 14 African-American state representative and two state senators in Texas, the conference tackled several issues under the fact of the state’s $10 billion shortfall. Several of those speaking referred to last year’s Republican-dominated elections as an example of apathy in the Black community that must be reversed.

“We have entered the 21st century somewhat with the same burdens as we left the 1800s, Reconstruction and moved our way into the 1900s,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, guest speaker of the conference’s general session. “I must be reminded that it is very difficult to spend my time going along to get along. Some of the positions I may take may frighten people, but I will try to do them with the kind of temperament and demeanor that will be respectful of the state and its constituents. I come here not to comfort but to agitate.”

State Rep. Jesse Jones, who headed the election reform session, expressed similar views.
“We don’t have any excuses for the last election as far as minorities were concerned,” he said. “We lost an exc

March 3, 2003
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