Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and 2016 presidential hopeful, wants the Republican Party to gain back African-American voters.
"When we gave up on trying to win the support of African-Americans, we lost our moral legitimacy as the party of Lincoln, as the party of equal opportunity for all," Perry said during a speech at the National Press Club in Washington on July 2.
"I'm here to tell you that it's Republicans, not Democrats, who are truly offering black Americans the hope for a better life for themselves and their children," Perry added.
Perry referred to actions he took as governor of Texas to improve educational and economic opportunities, and said that as president he would boost the economy by reforming tax code and enforcing federal agencies to adhere to a strict regulatory budget, The Hill reports.
Perry said he would also push for welfare reform, and split money spent on anti-poverty programs into a reformed Earned Income Tax Credit and a block grant for states to manage their own safety nets.
Perry said he wants to see reform of federal drug-related sentencing policies affecting African-Americans, deal with the “exorbitant” price of college, and the high cost of living.
“(The U.S. needs) new leadership and durable reforms (to provide economic empowerment),” Perry said.
The high-profile speech was the first time Perry addressed racial issues on the campaign trail, reports CNN.
"I know Republicans have much to do to earn the trust of African-Americans,” Perry said.
Perry believes the African-American community wants economic growth, and that President Barack Obama has failed to do so because of his Democratic policies — regardless of him being African-American.
"As Americans, we are all united by certain aspirations. We all want access to opportunity," Perry said. "There's a fundamental reason why Democratic policies have failed to cure poverty: It's because the only true cure for poverty is a job, and Democratic policies have made it too hard for the poor to find work."
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