Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry said the time has come for the Republican Party to “reclaim” its heritage as the only political party in America founded on the “principle of freedom” for African-Americans.
Perry argued that his policies could help African-Americans more than the last three Democratic administrations combined.
The former Texas governor said Republicans have emphasized their message on the 10th Amendment but not on the 14th Amendment, which Perry called “one of the great contributions of the Republican Party to American life, second only to the abolition of slavery.”
“For too long we Republicans have been content to lose the black vote because we found we didn’t need it to win, but when we gave up trying to win the support of African-Americans we lost our moral legitimacy as the party of Lincoln, as the party of equal opportunity for all,” he said in a speech at the National Press Club.
“It is time for us to once again reclaim our heritage as the only party in our country founded on the principle of freedom for African-Americans. We know what Democrats will propose in 2016 – the same things the Democrats have proposed for decades – more government spending on more government programs,” he added.
Perry said there is a “proper and an important role” for government assistance in keeping people on their feet.
“But few presidents have done more to expand government assistance than President Obama. Today, we spend nearly $1 trillion on means-tested-type poverty programs and yet black poverty remains stagnant,” he said.
Perry told the audience the best welfare program in America is a job.
“There’s a fundamental reason why Democrat policies have failed to cure poverty. It’s because the only true cure for poverty is a job and Democrat policies have made it too hard for the poor to find a job,” he said. “Just this week the president announced new regulations for overtime pay that will make it costlier for companies to hire full time employees. Companies are going to respond to this by hiring fewer people simply because money doesn’t grow on trees.”
Perry argued the government has to help reduce college tuition and the cost of living for those who “need every dollar.” He said federal regulations, such as Obamacare’s employer mandate, are driving up the cost of hiring new workers.
“That means that companies are hiring fewer people. It also means that the prices of basic consumer goods are going up,” he said.
Perry also called for reforming federal sentencing laws in his speech.
“If we create jobs, if we incentivize work, if we keep non-violent drug offenders out of prison and we reform our schools and we reduce the cost of living, we will have done more for African-Americans than the last three Democrat administrations combined,” he said.
“Democrats have long had the opportunity to govern the African-American communities. It is time for black families to hold them accountable for the results,” he added.