The head of the Wisconsin Black Chamber of Commerce of (WBCC) says no elective office holder or candidate should be invited to speak to churches, clubs or groups, and family members if they’re unwilling to address issues directly impacting the Black community. “You will not get the Black community’s vote if you do not serve the Black community’s interests,” declared Reuben Hopkins, chair-man/CEO of the Wisconsin Black Chamber of Commerce in a statement released Wednesday aimed at incumbent lawmakers and office seekers who have their eyes set on the coming spring primary and general elections scheduled for February 18 and April 1 resepctively. The focus of the Wisconsin Black Chamber of Commerce is Black business development and quality of life issues in areas where Black people live, work and play. Hopkins is of the belief political leaders who represent district’s within the Black community--and those who want to replace them--must go beyond “articulating the issues.” They must have doable, realistic plans and the commitment to push them to improve the economic, educational, health and social outcomes of the community. To that end, Hopkins suggests Black organizations, churches and other entities doing their best to improve conditions within the community send--with an invite to speak to them--a list of 10 questions he said every candidate should be able to answer if they want the Black vote (including incumbents). The 10 questions are: 1) What will you do to increase Black Business development in the places where Black people live, work and play? 2) Do you believe that Black people should be the largest employer of Black people? What will you do to help? 3) Where do you stand on the City of Milwaukee fully funding an effective Equal Rights Commission? 4) Where do you stand on the County of Milwaukee fully funding an effective Commission on Human Rights? 5) What Civil Rights legislation enforcement have you pushed and what happened to it? 6) The State of Wisconsin has failed to meet it's Minority participation goals year after year. How can the state do a better job and be held more accountable? 7) It was recently revealed that the City of Milwaukee's Housing Authority failed to comply with federal regulations on hiring low income workers for the $82 million Westlawn renovation project. Should someone be fired for this failure? Who is responsible for this failure? 8) Both Democrats and Republicans continue to fail the Black community. What political party do you think best servers the Black Community? What proof do you have? 9) Why is there no black organization that does micro lending in the black community? 10) (Add your additional questions here.) “Make sure these questions are part of any candidates forums or debates,” Hopkins said. “And make sure the candidate who is asking for your vote address these issues (if they are elected or reelected to office). But Hopkins stressed candidates just answering these questions in public or at a forum is not enough. He said voters should make the candidate commit to solving the issues the community faces in writing for the record. “Force them to answer these questions,” Hopkins said. Go to their websites and look at where they stand. Attend forums and ask questions.”
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