- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 4, 2015

A prominent black Chicago pastor believes the black community has been forsaken by the Democratic Party and has invited all the 2016 Republican presidential candidates to the troubled Woodlawn neighborhood in an effort to inform and mobilize voters.

“African-Americans have been loyal to the Democratic Party,” Pastor Corey Brooks told The Daily Beast. “But there is a group of African-Americans that feel like the Democratic Party has not been loyal to us.”

Mr. Brooks sat in his office at the New Beginnings Church of Chicago Wednesday morning mapping out a plan for Republican presidential candidates to visit the area — an effort he’s calling the “American Urban Issues Presidential Series,” The Daily Beast reported. So far, only Rand Paul has taken him up on his offer, but he said he’s heard back from the campaigns of Scott Walker and Ted Cruz.

Last week, Mr. Brooks and Mr. Paul toured the Parkway Gardens apartment complex along O Block after the Republican’s speech outside the church, The Daily Beast reported.

“We have a large, disproportionate number of people who are impoverished,” Mr. Brooks said. “We have a disproportionate number of people who are incarcerated, we have a disproportionate number of people who are unemployed, the educational system has totally failed, and all of this primarily has been under Democratic regimes in our neighborhoods.”

“So, the question for me becomes, how can our neighborhoods be doing so awful and so bad when we’re so loyal to this party who is in power? It’s a matter of them taking complete advantage of our vote,” he said.

Mr. Brooks, who moved to Chicago 20 years ago from his hometown of Muncie, Indiana, said at first he tried to keep his more conservative views to himself. “You are a Democrat. Period,” if you’re black in Chicago, he told The Daily Beast.

He made the unpopular decision last year to support Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s campaign and even brought Mr. Rauner to New Beginnings while he was still a candidate. In October, the pastor told local media that he was forced to move into a safe house after receiving a slew of death threats over his political beliefs.

Despite the controversy, Mr. Brooks is sticking to his principles. He believes the Democratic Party is taking the black vote for granted.

“They have a failing plan,” he told The Daily Beast. “A business owner wouldn’t allow the person who runs it to remain in charge for 50 years, constantly running it into the ground.”

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