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House Legislation

Statement by
The Honorable Cynthia McKinney

September 8, 2000

I would like to take this opportunity to comment on remarks about the Vice President regarding African American Secret Service Agents that were attributed to me on my web site, and in an article in the Washington Times.

These remarks originated in a draft of a press release that was in the editing process and were never intended for public distribution. I disclaim all of those comments.

I do feel, however, that the allegations of several African American Secret Service Agents deserve serious attention and vigorous investigation. I also believe that serious investigations should be undertaken regarding allegations of discrimination leveled by African American employees against the Departments of Agriculture and Energy and the Voice of America of the Department of State.

An August 1998 NAACP report found discrimination in recruitment and promotions at the Department of Defense, and a recent report of Blacks in Government finds that African American men are disproportionately disappearing from the federal workplace. The paucity of minority law clerks at the Supreme Court is another issue that must be addressed, as well as the fact that African American and Native American farmers continue to be neglected by the Department of Agriculture. It appears that there may be a systemic problem that must be addressed.

Vice President Gore owes it to those Secret Service agents and the American public to make a clear statement that he wants the Secret Service to make sure there is no discrimination in promotion practices, hiring decisions, or assignments within that organization. He should also address the concerns that have led African American employees of the Federal Government to file numerous lawsuits alleging racial discrimination in the workplace.

I would also like to take this opportunity to reiterate my full and unequivocal endorsement of Al Gore and let George W. Bush and the right wing Republicans backing him know that I will work as hard as I can in Georgia for the Democratic ticket.

While George Bush offers us election year rhetoric, the Clinton-Gore Administration has real successes to showcase.

Al Gore has a record of carrying the Democratic Party's flag on important issues like choice, the minimum wage, and Medicare. George Bush has a record of defending the Confederate Flag for the Republican Party establishment.

Gore has supported a reinvestment in America’s urban communities through his work as Chairman of the Community Empowerment Board that has created 31 Empowerment Zones and more than 100 Enterprise Communities around the country to help promote new jobs and better opportunities for residents of America’s cities and rural areas.

President Clinton has created the most diverse Administration in history. I hope President Gore will continue that record in the appointments of record numbers of African American Cabinet Members, U.S. Attorneys, Federal judges, and Supreme Court Justices.

Additionally, Gore has strongly opposed state and local efforts to end affirmative action programs that create opportunities for African Americans and other minority groups.

By contrast, George W. Bush has presided over Texas State government at a time when women and minorities have fallen behind in that state, and poor people continually face the threat of a disproportionately administered death penalty.

George Bush’s Texas has a dismal record on the minimum wage – forcing many hard working citizens not covered by the federal minimum wage to struggle to make ends meet.

George Bush’s Texas has a dismal record on education. Bush’s education proposals take money away from the poorest schools so the children of the wealthy can attend private school.

George Bush’s Texas has a dismal record on health care – the children of Texas working families are often uninsured or underinsured.

And let me warn any Republicans who might be tempted to use the comments that were attributed to me, which I have now disclaimed and retracted, to divide and confuse the voters --- I will not stand for it.
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