Sunday, August 14, 2005

Black Republicans are forming a national organization to recruit and register black voters that will be in step with the strategy of Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman.

The National Black Republican Association (NBRA) officially will announce its arrival on the political landscape today, as well as the creation of its fundraising arm and the opening of its national headquarters at 601 Pennsylvania Ave in the District.

“The NBRA wants to empower the people to control their own destiny, hold politicians accountable and vote for candidates for the content of their policies not the label of their party,” said Frances Rice, interim chairman of the group and co-founder of a black Republican club in Sarasota, Fla. “Having the black vote taken for granted by the Democratic Party is not a good thing. The Democrats have been running urban black communities for 40 years, and blacks are complaining about the same problems.”

Mrs. Rice said blacks need an organization that will effectively counter the misinformation concerning Republicans being perpetuated by the Democratic Party.

The NBRA will be a resource center for the black community on Republican policy and values. And in tandem with the directives of Mr. Mehlman, the group also aims to increase the number of black Republican voters and, for those already in the party, provide information and networking opportunities.

The organization will have an independent political fundraising arm called National Black Republicans for Freedom.

The goal of the 527 group, named for a section of the tax code under which it is organized, is to identify prospective black Republican candidates for elected office and provide them financial and grass-roots assistance.

“One important aim of the NBRA is to empower the people, by championing opportunity scholarships for black children and helping black Americans move into our ownership society,” said Donald Scoggins, interim vice chairman of the group and chairman of the Frederick Douglass Republican Forum, an outreach group based in Loudoun County, Va.

It will be only a short while before the 527 begins accepting contributions and buying ads.

The NBRA is expected to have its first convention in February.

This will be the first time that black Republicans have organized under one house in the party’s recent history, said Deborah Burston-Donbraye, an Ohio-based political consultant and deputy director for public affairs for the Justice Department under President Reagan.

“We’re getting to that younger generation that is not as knowledgeable or as hurt by the past and are looking forward to see what is best for blacks and looking at Bush and the economy, and they like what they see,” she said.

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