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Rep. Neguse lays out Dem planks that will change America

In less than eight weeks, the road to the 2024 presidential election will begin right here in Chicago with the National Democratic Convention (DNC) where leaders like Rep. Joseph D. Neguse (D-Colorado) will lay out their platforms hoping to bolster voter turnout and shifting the political landscape to protect America’s democracy.

In an interview with the Chicago Crusader at the DNC headquarters Friday, June 21st, Rep. Neguse, a 40-year-old lawyer who is the first Eritrean American elected to Congress, Colorado’s first Black member of Congress, and the assistant Democratic leader in the House, laid out some of the plank’s key to removing D.C.’s legislative handcuffs that are blocking progress.

Democrats, he said will showcase their agendas so voters can see the sunrise of change and an end to D.C. partisan wrangling that strangleholds progress and needed social and economic change.

As examples, Neguse pointed to the rise in crime and the demands of ending homelessness in America as examples of how the Democrats will lay out their differences in achieving these goals to voters as the November 5th presidential general election grows closer.

“Both of these issues are incredibly important,” Neguse said. “The solutions that we propose as congressional Democrats and with President Biden’s leadership the various policies he thinks will ultimately make a real significant view of difference with respect to ameliorating homelessness and ultimately reducing crime, gun violence in particular.”

When asked how Democrats can end the gun violence that is taking the lives of so many children across the nation, Rep. Neguse said, “The scourge of gun violence is impacting every community in Chicago, Colorado and across the country.

“President Biden has made it a priority of his time in office to address gun violence.” He praised Biden for “being the change of getting across the finish line the first significant legislation addressing gun violence in 30 years…the assault weapons ban,” Neguse pointed out.

He was referring to then Delaware Senator Biden who banned assault weapons in Delaware. As president, Biden continues to call for a ban on assault weapons as he did in 1994 when he was a senator.

Asked what is being done to end the flow of guns in Black and brown communities, Neguse pointed to the Gun Trafficker Detection Act introduced by Rep. Robin Kelly (D-2nd) and Rep. Sean Casten (IL-6th) that would require gun owners to report if their guns are lost or stolen within 48 hours.

“That bill took effect a year-and-a-half ago and you already begin to see some of the results…,” he pointed out. Neguse said Biden has made it clear that this bill “is a start but there is more to be done. That is why I am working so hard to make sure he is re-elected.”

Explaining, Neguse said if Democrats have a sufficient majority in the House and the Senate with the President’s leadership in his second term he believes “we can do even more to address the gun violence that is shocking communities” across the nation.

Asked about a number of anti-gun violence prevention bills he has introduced, Rep. Neguse referred to a package of these bills, called “Protecting America’s Communities Act” designed to close the loopholes and to prevent mass shootings and preventing people who should not have guns from gaining access to these weapons.

He gave as an example a bill that would prevent a person with a violent misdemeanor in their background from gaining access to a gun. Neguse referred to his community of Boulder, Colorado where a mass shooting took the lives of ten members including a police officer who died.

“The individual who murdered those ten community members had been convicted of a violent misdemeanor just a few months before he purchased an assault weapon,” Neguse stated. He said if his bill had been law at the time, the shooter would not have been able to purchase that weapon.

Listing several similar bills he has introduced to prevent gun violence, Neguse said passage is possible “if we have the political will, but we need the political majorities to do it.”

While some of his bills have yet to pass due to opposition from Republicans, Rep. Neguse said he has passed some bipartisan bills like the Safer Communities Act. He hopes Democrats will continue to “convince our colleagues to do the right thing” and pass anti-gun violence bills.

However, Neguse said, “We know it will not happen absent us having a majority in the House and in the Senate which makes this election so important.”

 Asked how the Democratic Party can get a large Black voter turnout on November 5th especially given their poor showing in Chicago’s primary and an existing divided electorate, Rep. Neguse said, “I think we have to work at it” by convincing voters why Biden and Vice President Harris deserve another four years.

He said more will be done in reaching out to the Black community about the Democrats record. Pointing to the Congressional Black Caucus, Neguse said they have been traveling around the nation making a case on why Biden should be re-elected. “There is more for us to do.”

Rep. Neguse then addressed the DNC staff giving them a pep talk. “It’s going to be a history making convention,” he told the staff not just winning the election, but the election of the first Black Speaker of the House with Rep. Hakeem Jeffries.

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