Indiana News

Presidential hopefuls make cases at Urban League event in Indy

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, talks about his Urban League roots during the group's national conference July 25, 2019, in Indianapolis. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Several presidential hopefuls are visiting the city for this year’s National Urban League conference.

Five Democratic Party candidates spoke Thursday; others will have their turns Friday.

Right out the gate, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey talked about his Urban League roots, encouraged black voter turnout, and discussed fighting against inequalities and racism.

“It’s easy to call Donald Trump a racist now. You get no badge of courage for that. The question is, ‘What were you doing to address structural inequality and institutional racism throughout your life?’” Booker said.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio focused on education, children and addressing trauma in children.

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“I want after-school programs. I want summer school programs. I want art therapy, music therapy, play therapy for our kids. I want to make sure we reinvest back into our urban cores,”Ryan said.

Former U.S. Rep. John Delaney mentioned better banking coverage for communities in need; for example, the creation of nonprofit banks through a Federal Reserve charter.

“If you get one of these charters, you don’t have to make a profit, provided you show a history of philanthropic support. We can launch a whole new type of bank.” Delaney said.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota said she would reauthorize the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

“We have to expand same-day registration,” Klobuchar said. “That’s my bill. Basically, it says if you can do it with car licenses and Social Security numbers, than everyone whose eligible in this country should be registered to vote when they turn 18.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden said he believes we’re in a battle for the soul of America and referenced President Trump.

“He rips at families, rips them apart at our borders,” Biden said. “Puts children in cages. He’s actively working to undo every bit of the progress President (Barack) Obama and I and our administration did.”

On Friday, five more Democratic Party presidential hopefuls will speak:

  • U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California.
  • South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
  • Documentary filmmaker Ami Horowitz.

This is the first time in 25 years that the National Urban League Conference has come to Indianapolis.