Former Texas Governor Rick Perry gave a speech on Wednesday where he talked about the ways he believes can improve life for African Americans in the United States.
His speech, “Black Lives Matter — And So Does Black Liberty,” explains how Democrats have failed to improve the problems and what Republicans can and should do to resolve issues facing African Americans. Perry also points to some of the things he did when he was governor to improve life for African Americans.
“I am here to tell you that it is Republicans — not Democrats — who are truly offering black Americans the hope of a better life for themselves and their children,” Perry said.
Later on in his speech, Perry talks about the need for every American to recognize the struggles that African Americans face and that they have been treated differently. Perry then pointed to his record as governor as an example of how to lift African-Americans out of poverty and decrease the crime rate at the same time.
“We haven’t eliminated black poverty in Texas. But neither have we allowed it to fester. In New York, the supplemental poverty rate for blacks is 26 percent. In California, it’s 30 percent. In Washington, D.C., it’s 33 percent. In Texas, it’s just 20 percent. In 2014, Texas had its lowest crime rate since 1968,” Perry said. “And the improvements keep coming. Last year, while crime rates rose in other states, we saw them decrease by 5 percent in Houston, 5 percent in San Antonio, 5 percent in Dallas, 8 percent in Fort Worth, and 10 percent in Austin.”
Perry then listed five things that he believes lawmakers need to do to help African Americans rise above poverty: keep non-violent offenders out of prison, lift barriers to urban jobs, incentivize work, reform schools, and reduce the cost of living.
Perry talked about how he reformed sentencing laws in Texas and reduced crime as a result.
“One of the most important things we did in Texas while I was governor was reform our sentencing laws, so that non-violent offenders could stay out of prison,” he said. “We can do more. And we can do it while keeping our low-income communities safe from crime.”
Perry then pointed to welfare as a barrier to African Americans looking for work.
“President Obama and Secretary Clinton say that the best way to reduce crime is through more welfare. But here is what I have seen in my time in public service: the best welfare program in America is a job. It’s hard to get a job if you have a criminal conviction on your record. And that’s why criminal justice reform is so important,” he said. “But there’s an even bigger reason why Democratic policies have failed to cure poverty: It’s because the only true cure for poverty is a job. And Democratic policies have made it too hard for the poor to find work.”
Perry touched on the rising cost of education, too.
“We are literally asking poor students to mortgage their future in order to gain a college degree. This must end,” he said.
Perry also emphasized the need to lower the cost of living.
“Furthermore, just as with college tuition, we have to reduce the cost of living for those who need every dollar to be stretched as far is it can go. Regulations like minimum wage hikes and Obamacare’s employer mandate drive up the cost of hiring new workers. That means that companies hire fewer people. But it also means that the price of basic consumer goods goes up,” Perry said.