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By Michael Pagan | May 12th, 2008 - 12:35pm
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African American Ministers From Across New Jersey Endorse Lautenberg For Senate
 
African American ministers from across New Jersey today announced that they are endorsing Senator Frank R. Lautenberg for re-election, citing his years of work and accomplishments in the United States Senate on behalf of African American communities in the state and across the country.

"Senator Frank Lautenberg was born and raised in Paterson and is committed to helping the city move forward in a positive direction.  He cares about our neighborhoods and always goes the extra mile to lend his support to us on a variety of issues.  I am proud to support Senator Lautenberg and will do everything in my power to help him get reelected," said Rev. Kenneth Clayton from St. Luke Baptist Church in Paterson.

"Senator Frank Lautenberg has always been a big supporter of faith based communities and has always fought for the issues that matter most to our neighborhoods.  Issues like ending the War in Iraq, making health care and higher education more affordable, and helping small businesses and the economy grow.  Frank Lautenberg is my senator.  I am proud to support him," said Rev. Jethro James from Paradise Baptist Church in Newark.

"Frank Lautenberg is invested in our community and cares about our needs.  He shares our beliefs on the most vital issues facing our community, our state and our country and that is why I am supporting Frank Lautenberg for reelection," said Rev. Grady James from First Bethel Baptist Church in Newark.

"We need someone with experience that will continue to fight for us and continue to stand strong in the United States Senate," said Reverend Jay Stanley Justice from Mt. Zion AME Church in Trenton.

"I wholeheartedly support the re-election of United States Senator Frank Lautenberg.  He has been a strong and faithful ally to the African American Community and I look forward to working with him for another six years as he leads our state," said Reverend Gerald Lamont Thomas from Shiloh Baptist Church in Plainfield.

"I support Senator Lautenberg because I think he is the best candidate with the best record and has shown continued support for his constituents in the state of New Jersey," said Reverend Dr. Calvin McKinney of Calvary Baptist Church of North Jersey in Garfield.

The following is a list of African American ministers that are supporting Sen. Frank Lautenberg for re-election:

* Reverend Reginald Jackson: St. Matthews AME Church (Orange, Essex County)
* Reverend Jethro James: Paradise Baptist Church (Newark, Essex County)
* Bishop George and Pastor Anita Benbow: Christian Fellowship Gospel Church (Plainfield, Union County)
* Reverend J. Michael Sanders: Fountain Baptist Church (Summit, Union County)
* Reverend Gerald Lamont Thomas: Shiloh Baptist Church  (Plainfield , Union County)
* Reverend Grady James: 1st Bethel Baptist Church (Newark, Essex County)
* Reverend Dr. Calvin McKinney: Calvary Baptist Church of North Jersey (Garfield, Bergen County)
* Reverend Jay Stanley Justice: Mt .Zion AME Church (Trenton, Mercer County)
* Rev. Kenneth Clayton: St. Luke Baptist Church (Paterson, Passaic County)
* Reverend Laverne Ball: Rose of Sharon Community Church (Plainfield, Union County)
* Pastor Keith Jones: Grace Worship Center (New Brunswick, Middlesex County)
* Reverend Dr. James A. Kuykendall: Agape Ministry (Paterson, Passaic County)
* Reverend Willie Willburn (Newark, Essex County)
* Reverend W. James Jr.: New United MBC (Newark, Essex County)
* Reverend R.E. Jones, Sr.: Pastor Good Shepherd Baptist Church (Paterson, Passaic County)
* Reverend A. Thompson: Friendship Baptist Church (Rahway, Union County)
* Reverend Roosevelt Pinkston: Freedom MBC  (Newark, Essex County)
* Reverend R. Pollard: Victory Baptist Church  (Vauxhall, Union County)
* Reverend B. Johnson  Jr: Pastor of Greater Metropolitan Baptist Church  (Newark, Essex County)
* Reverend Charles Paige: Pastor Emanuel Missionary Baptist Church (Newark, Essex County)
* Reverend Herbert Cochran (Morristown, Morris County)
* Reverend C.Eruin (Newark, Essex County)
* Reverend Lauren Cooper: Franklin St. Johns United Methodist Church (Newark, Essex County)
* Reverend WM Freeman (South Orange, Essex County)

Senator Lautenberg has been a champion of issues important to communities all across New Jersey, including:
 
Civil Rights

* Sen. Lautenberg was the Senate champion of a new law creating a federal commission to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.

* Voted for an amendment to provide $2 million for the Underground Railroad Educational and Cultural Program.

* Cosponsor of the Civil Rights Act of 2008, which would improve accountability when civil rights and workers rights are violated.

* Cosponsor of the Civil Rights Commemorative Coin Act.

* Cosponsored a resolution, which passed the Senate in May 2007, to recognize the Negro Baseball Leagues and their players on May 20 each year.
 
Voting Rights

* Sen. Lautenberg cosponsored the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act, which became law in 2006.

* Sen. Lautenberg voted against a 2007 McConnell amendment that would have required voters to present government-issued photo ID before voting.

* Voted for legislation to grant full voting rights in the U.S. House of Representatives to residents of the District of Columbia.

Racial Profiling

* In 1999, Sen. Lautenberg introduced the first major Federal legislation on racial profiling, the "Traffic Stops Statistics Study Act of 1999." 

* Sen. Lautenberg is an original cosponsor of the "End Racial Profiling Act," introduced by Sen. Feingold.

Mentorship and Preventing Gang Violence

* Sen. Lautenberg cosponsored, with Sen. Menendez, legislation to provide grants for innovative approaches to gang prevention and increase funds for mentoring programs for youth involved in the juvenile justice system.  This legislation passed the Senate last fall as part of the "Gang Abatement and Prevention Act," which Sen. Lautenberg also cosponsored.

* Worked in Senate Appropriations Committee to restore over $48 million in funding for mentoring programs that the Bush Administration proposed to eliminate.

* Worked in Senate Appropriations Committee to increase by $100 million for after school programs, which provide a safe and educational place for children to go while their parents are at work.

Fighting Crime

* Sen. Lautenberg has been a steadfast advocate of the COPS program, which has added nearly 5,000 police officers and sheriffs to New Jersey's streets and sent more than $350 million to New Jersey.  He cosponsored and voted for the successful Biden amendment that increased COPS funding by $1.2 billion for FY 2008 and has used his position on the Appropriations Committee to fight the Bush Administration's attempts to cut this program.

* Cosponsored and voted for legislation to expand current hate crimes prevention laws and allow the federal government to assist local law enforcement in investigating and prosecuting hate crimes.
 
Gun Violence Prevention

* Sen. Lautenberg is the author of the bill to close the "gun show loophole," which allows people to buy guns from unlicensed dealers at gun shows without going through a background check.  Sen. Lautenberg's bill would require background checks for all guns sold at gun shows.

* Sen. Lautenberg has authored a bill that would require the FBI to keep gun background check records for 180 days.  Under current law, these records must be destroyed within 24 hours, which leaves the FBI with no way to retrieve guns from people who are able to buy guns in violation of the law.

* After Senator Lautenberg exposed that the Bush Administration was blocking law enforcement from retrieving data about gun purchases by people on the terrorist watch list, the Department of Justice changed its policies, and now provides information to law enforcement when suspected terrorists purchase weapons.  In 2007, at Senator Lautenberg's urging, the Administration endorsed Lautenberg's proposal to restrict gun sales to suspected terrorists. 

*Has fought to overturn the "Tiahrt Amendment" and make more information on crime guns available to local law enforcement.
 
Prisoner Reentry

* Cosponsored the Second Chance Act, which became law in April 2008.  The Second Chance Act would establish a federal prisoner reentry task force, increase access to drug treatment programs, encourage states to work harder at reuniting families, and provide grants to improve academic and vocational education behind bars.

* In FY 2008 alone, Sen. Lautenberg secured more than $1.8 million for programs across the state that assist prisoners in successfully reintegrating into the community and help to keep young people from escalating their criminal behavior ending up with long term incarceration.

Small Business

* As a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee that handles appropriations for the Small Business Administration, Sen. Lautenberg fought for a large increase of funding for the SBA in FY 2008.  Congress secured $569 million, a 22 percent increase over President Bush's request, resulting in more loans and more services available to small businesses.

Worker Rights and Benefits

* Sen. Lautenberg was a cosponsor of and voted for the legislation that raised the minimum wage in 2007 for the first time since 1996.  This law increases the minimum wage by $2.10 an hour over two years to $7.25 an hour.

* Sen. Lautenberg cosponsored, spoke on the Senate floor in support of, and voted for the Employee Free Choice Act, which would make it easier for workers to join a union without employer coercion or intimidation.

* Has cosponsored and voted for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, which would overturn the Supreme Court's decision in the Ledbetter case that limited workers' ability to sue their employers for pay discrimination.
 
Keeping Families Healthy
 
*Introduced the Diabetes Prevention Access and Care Act which increases funding for diabetes research, prevention, and education in minority communities.

* Supported expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program which provides health care to more than 125,000 low-income children, including more than 22,000 African-American children. 

* Defeated an amendment to the Children's Health Insurance Program reauthorization that would have eliminated health care coverage for 3,200 children in New Jersey. 

* Introduced a bill that would provide a temporary increase in Medicaid funding for states during this economic crisis.  

* Co-sponsored the Minority Health Improvement and Health Disparity Elimination Act, which would increase research funding for diseases that disproportionately affect minorities.

* Voted for final passage of legislation funding the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education for Fiscal Year 2008.  The Senate bill would have funded these agencies at $9.6 billion more than the President's budget request.
 
Housing

*Co-sponsored the HOPE VI reauthorization program that encourages redevelopment of old public housing into affordable housing for working-and middle-class residents.

* Supported the Foreclosure Prevention Act, which was an important first step in helping to stabilize the housing market and provide housing counseling assistance to homeowners.

* Cosponsored the Home Ownership Preservation and Protection Act which ends predatory lending practices that tricked many homeowners into getting mortgages they could not afford.
 
Early Education

*Strongly supported the reauthorization of the Head Start program signed into law in December that assists 279,000 low-income African American children.
 
Making Higher Education More Affordable

* Co-sponsored and voted for the College Opportunity Act that is now law, which increases Pell Grants and lowers interest rates to increase affordability to college.

* Has cosponsored legislation to forgive loans for public defenders and prosecutors and voted against an attempt to strike a loan forgiveness program for public sector workers.
 
Opposed Anti-Civil Rights Judicial and Executive Nominations

* Voted against the Supreme Court nominations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito.

* Voted against the confirmation of Leslie Southwick to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  Southwick had a history of decisions while a state court judge that failed to recognize workers' and civil rights.

* Voted against the confirmation of Michael B. Mukasey to serve as Attorney General of the United States because of Mukasey's failure to condemn certain torture techniques and the Bush Administration's abuses of executive powers.

Environmental Justice
 
* Cosponsored the Environmental Justice Renewal Act. The bill would direct the EPA to head a Working Group to provide guidance to federal agencies to identify disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental impacts on minority and low-income populations and to help the agencies develop environmental justice strategies. It also requires the Working Group to develop a coordinated interagency federal environmental justice strategy.

* Cosponsored the Environmental Justice Enforcement Act of 2008. The bill amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include in the definition of discrimination actions that cause a disparate impact on low income or minority communities.

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