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Neel Kashkari

Republicans Are the Party of Civil Rights

Republicans have a great opportunity this year to show California voters exactly who we are and what we’re fighting for. With Jerry Brown fighting poor and minority kids in court over failing schools, Democrats have been exposed as defenders of the powerful status quo – and opponents of civil rights.

Democrats say Republicans don’t care about the poor, that we don’t care about minorities, that we don’t care about women. They’re dead wrong. We are the party that cares about giving everyone an opportunity to succeed and we must lead the fight to open hearts and minds as to who we are and what we believe.

Our party was literally founded for the express purpose of abolishing slavery.  The abolitionists among the Whigs and Democrats got together to form the Republican Party and recruited a one-term congressman named Abraham Lincoln to be their candidate for President.

A century later Republicans led the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In fact, a greater percentage of Republicans voted for the landmark law than did Democrats.

We should hold our heads up high and remind California and America that we are the party of Abraham Lincoln and it is our duty to continue his great legacy. We should be extremely proud of our history defending civil rights.

Democrats are demonstrating just the opposite. After running on a populist message of fighting for the poor and for minorities in 2013, Democrat Bill de Blasio fought to shut down high performing charter schools in New York City that were helping poor and minority kids get a good education.  It was mostly Republicans who cried out in horror and forced him to back down.

In 2012 President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder sued the state of Louisiana to block a voucher program that was only available to poor kids who were in failing schools. The President actually argued that if poor black kids leave failing schools those schools will become less black, so they need to stay in those failing schools to maintain the right racial mix. Republicans in Louisiana and around the country were outraged that the President would doom poor kids – of any color – to failing schools. He backed down.

Closer to home, we all know the most powerful force in California politics is the teachers union – which spends almost $200 million per year to block education reforms.  But recently something absolutely remarkable happened:  In 2012 nine kids stood up and sued Governor Brown because their rights were being violated by our failing schools.  Remarkably, the judge agreed with the kids and they beat the Governor in court.

Then Jerry Brown had a choice – he could use this landmark ruling to finally make bold education changes – or he could fight on behalf of the unions and appeal the case.  Shockingly, he turned his back on the neediest kids of California and filed an appeal on behalf of his union masters. He even said his betrayal of these kids was an “ephemeral” issue – a passing fad that would soon be forgotten.

Jerry Brown should be ashamed of himself.

Why would Jerry Brown betray the children of California?  Why would Bill de Blasio try to shut down charter schools? Why would President Obama sue to keep poor kids in failing schools? Money. They all are bought and controlled by teacher union bosses who have funded their political careers.

My campaign, and our party, is dedicated to fighting for the rights of all Californians – to get a good education and to be able to get a good job and work hard. I am on a mission to open hearts and minds to let people know who Republicans really are.  And I want all Republicans to join me on this mission.

On November 4th, we need to turn out in droves and flood our polling places. Show California who we really are and be damn proud to say you’re a Republican.

We are the party of Abraham Lincoln. We are the party that year after year, decade after decade, fights for civil rights. We fight for freedom. We fight for liberty.  Not just for our own rights – but for the rights of all Americans.  Don’t ever forget this. It is our history. It is our present. It is our future.