Texas African American Leaders Call on Bush for Help on VRA Extension

...State House Legislators Send Stinging Letter to Bush asking him to reign in Texas Congressional Republicans

In a direct and often stinging letter from the Texas Legislative Black Caucus, African American leaders in the Texas State House challenge President Bush to directly intervene with Texas Congressional Republicans currently blocking extension of the Voting Rights Act. The letter is signed by nine Legislators, including three officers: Rep. Senfronia Thompson, Chair; Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, 2nd Vice Chair; and Rep. Marc Veasey, Treasurer. Copies of the letter to Bush were sent to all Members of the Texas Congressional Delegation and to Congressional Black Caucus Chair Mel Watt.

Following are selected excerpts from the Legislative Black Caucus Letter

We were deeply disappointed to learn that Republican Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, led by the Republicans in the Texas Delegation, are attempting to block the extension of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). This hostile action against the VRA is deeply troubling…

We need your help in immediately demanding that members of your own party, in particular Republican Members from our shared home state of Texas, do the right thing and extend the VRA…

During the 78th Legislative Session we saw the rights of our constituents trampled by then Majority Leader Tom DeLay in his brutal pursuit of mid-decade redistricting. Your Administration abetted, rather than prevented, Mr. DeLay’s overt attack on minority voters. ..

The Department of Justice (DOJ) had the opportunity to stop this attack on minority voting strength in Texas. Professional voting rights experts in the DOJ recommended that an official objection be filed. Instead your political appointees overruled the professionals and supported the onerous plan. You failed us then. We ask that you not fail us again…

You are the leader of your party and have direct influence over the most partisan and ideological Members in the U.S. House of Representatives…We humbly ask that you use your powers of persuasion and the influence of your high office to convince

Republican Members of Congress, particular those in Texas, to drop their opposition to the extension of the Voting Rights Act

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