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Excerpts from DNC Chairman Howard Dean's Remarks at the National Baptist Convention

WASHINGTON, Sept. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean addressed the National Baptist Convention this afternoon. In his remarks, Dean discussed the important role faith and morality play in defining the issues most important to the Democratic Party, as well as the work people of faith do every day to address the problems facing our country and planet, including reconstruction of the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina and the global crisis of HIV/AIDS. In addition, Dean spoke of the work Democrats in Congress are doing on behalf of African American families to make our country stronger and the importance of electing a Democratic president next year to change course in Iraq.

Under the leadership of Chairman Dean the DNC's Faith in Action Initiative has worked to strengthen and build relationships with members of the faith community through regular outreach based on our shared values and priorities. These efforts include national and state level outreach to diverse faiths in coordination with the DNC's 50 State Partnership program.

Below are excerpts of Dean's remarks:

On the DNC's Faith in Action Initiative

"Under the Faith In Action Initiative, over the past two years I have been meeting with leaders from many different faiths about matters important to the faith community. As part of our 50-state strategy we are a new kind of campaign, a two way campaign. We do not go into states and into communities to talk at people -- we listen first... We now have a year round outreach effort which involves prominent members of the faith community in the activities of the Party.

Democratic Party's Values are Moral Values"

Democrats are strong people of faith and convictions but for too long we have allowed others to define our values and what we stand for.

"But the tide is changing. Our Democratic candidates for President...aren't we proud to have a slate of Democratic candidate running for President that looks like the rest of America. Our candidates do not look like they're from the 1950's and talk like they're from the 1850's. Our candidates are ready for the new challenges of the 21st century. Our candidates are comfortable with talking about their faith and have made it clear that their faith informs their values, which informs their decisions. On the other side candidates continue the pattern of the last 8 years which is to divide Americans by race, ethnicity and gender. Our party will heal America.

"We know that moral issues are about more than two things. As Democrats we believe:

-- That no child should go to bed hungry.

-- As Democrats we believe that it is a moral issue that we no longer be

the last industrialized country on the face of the earth that doesn't

have a health care for every single person. And we have acted on that

in Congress by giving every child under 18 health insurance.

-- That war should be a last resort only after diplomacy has been


-- That we should properly equip our troops before we send them to war.

-- That we should take care of our veterans when they come home.

-- That everyone deserves equal rights under the law.

-- That we should be good stewards of the earth.

-- That hard working people should earn a living wage and be able to take

care of their families.

-- That we shouldn't pass debt onto our children and our grandchildren.

-- That faith should not be used to divide people.

-- That you and I have more in common than we have differences.

Democrats in Congress are Keeping Our Promises

"I believe that under a new leadership in Congress we are delivering on our promises. The Democratic Congress has kept its promise to help all Americans and African American more specifically.

"For the first time in 10 years, Democrats have passed an increase to the minimum wage which disproportionately affects African Americans. Democrats have passed a bill to make prescription drugs more affordable and stop the Republican culture of catering to big drug companies before caring about our own people.

"And today the Conference committee has met and agreed upon a bill that will cut in half the interest paid on college loans and increase Pell Grants and Perkins loans so that all children may have an opportunity to go to college and improve their opportunities.

"We have passed a bill that insures every child in America and we have been threatened with a veto by this President.

"The truth is that we have made progress in the last six months, but we will not be able to do things we need to do unless we have a Democratic President. We will not be able to get our troops out of Iraq unless we have a Democratic President. Every single one of the folks on the other side thinks we ought to stay there. It is a clear choice.

The Katrina Example

"Recently we celebrated the two year Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The federal government's failed response to the people of the Gulf Coast was a chilling example...

"After the Hurricane, the Democratic Party worked to help and serve. The first thing we did, [we] stopped fundraising, allowed staff to take three weeks off with pay and volunteer and I am most proud that we were one of the first groups to hold a meeting in New Orleans after the Hurricane to help support the local economy.

"As the people of the Gulf Coast get back on their feet, the National Baptist Convention has played a critical role in rebuilding devastated areas, providing housing, aiding fellow congregations and giving people a sense of hope.

"People of faith turned around New Orleans. Your efforts are a great example of the important role that churches play in bringing aid and comfort to the sick and displaced in society.

The Crisis of Global HIV/AIDS

"The crisis of global HIV/AIDS continues to ravage lives both in the developing world and here in America. We must work to eradicate this deadly disease and the conditions that cause it. Let me thank the National Baptist Convention for the work that you have done as an organization and as individual churches on this issue that continues to affect our communities.

Protecting the Right to Vote

"In key states like Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Missouri an increase in African American turnout helped Democrats to win critical Senate races. In addition the African American turnout in Tennessee made it one of the closest races in the country. In the last Presidential election we saw remarkable turnout among young people...

"At the DNC we are working to make sure that your votes are counted. We know that you are doing your part by getting out to the polls and it's our responsibility to ensure that this Democracy works for everyone. Americans should be able to go to the polls without fear of intimidation and voter fraud, which is why Democrats are working hard to prevent voting irregularities like we witnessed in Ohio and Florida.

Paid for and authorized by the Democratic National Committee, This communication is not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

SOURCE Democratic National Committee
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