Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Rep. Keith Ellison presents to Rep. John Conyers with John Nichols, Tim Carpenter

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

John Conyers Jr. PoliticIt Exclusive Interview

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Friday, September 21, 2012

CBC Annual Legislative Conference – The Challenges of Criminal Justice Reform, A Year in Review

Chairman John Conyers Judiciary Braintrust: Advancing the Civil Rights Agenda

(DETROIT) – Tomorrow, Friday September 21st, Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) will be hosting a Judiciary Braintrust on Advancing the Civil Rights Agenda. The first braintrust panel will be discussing disparities in the criminal justice system, with a particular focus on how reform efforts have broadened to encompass international concerns such as human trafficking. This panel will feature experts from the judiciary, law enforcement, child welfare, and the advocacy community to provide an overview of continuing challenges – juvenile justice, drug and sentencing policy – and the progress made under the Obama administration.
WHAT:                 Judiciary Braintrust Panel on The Challenges of Criminal Justice Reform, A Year in Review

WHERE:               Washington Convention Center
                                Room 145-A
WHEN:                 Friday, September 21, 2012
                                11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

WHO:                   The Honorable John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.)

                        The Honorable Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-Va.)

                                Moderator: Jesselyn McCurdy, ACLU Washington Legislative Office

                                Hilary Shelton, Senior Vice President for Policy and Advocacy at the NAACP

Jody Kent Lavy, Director & National Coordinator of the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth

                                Jiles H. Shipp, National President of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives

                                Julie Stewart, President of FAMM

                                Inimai Chettiar, Director of the Justice Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law

                                Marc Mauer, Executive Director of The Sentencing Project

                                John Page, President of the National Bar Association

                                Ron Scott, Spokesman of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality

                                Gary Luster, Former Mayor of Saginaw, Michigan

                                Albert Long, Activity Service Monitor/Employment Specialist at the Talbert House/Spring Grove

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CBC Annual Legislative Conference – Protecting the Right to Vote

Chairman John Conyers Judiciary Braintrust: Advancing the Civil Rights Agenda

(DETROIT) – Tomorrow, Friday September 21st, Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) will be hosting a Judiciary Braintrust on Advancing the Civil Rights Agenda. The third braintrust panel will be discussing how efforts  are underway across the country which  make it more difficult to cast a ballot. While couched in terms of voter fraud, these laws appear to  have their greatest impact by limiting participation of minorities, seniors and the young. Some of the new laws, notably those limiting the number of days for early voting, have little plausible connection to battling fraud. This braintrust will explore nationwide voter suppression efforts and continue the dialogue on how to defend access to the ballot box.
WHAT:                 Judiciary Braintrust Panel on Protecting the Right to Vote

WHERE:               Washington Convention Center
                                Room 145-A
WHEN:                 Friday, September 21, 2012
                                3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

WHO:                   The Honorable John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.)

                                Benjamin Todd Jealous, President and CEO of the NAACP

Roland Martin, CNN Analyst

Barbara R. Arnwine, Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights

                                Deborah J. Vagins, Senior Legislative Counsel for the ACLU Washington Legislative Office

                                Nicole M. Austin-Hillery, Director and Counsel in the Washington Office of the Brennan Center for Justice

                                Tova Andrea Wang, Senior Democratic Fellow at Demos

                                Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of Color of Change

                                Greg Moore, Executive Director of Operation Fair Vote Ohio

                                Adam Lioz, Counsel for the Democracy Program at Demos

                                Erin Hustings, Senior Policy Analyst at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials

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CBC Annual Legislative Conference – Communities of Faith in Progressive Politics

Chairman John Conyers Judiciary Braintrust: Advancing the Civil Rights Agenda

(DETROIT) – Tomorrow, Friday September 21st, Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) will be hosting a Judiciary Braintrust on Advancing the Civil Rights Agenda. The second braintrust panel will be discussing how the church has historically occupied a central role in the struggle for civil rights in the African-American community. Today, however, new institutions can offer both complimentary and competing visions for African-American politics, creating new opportunities for broadening participation. This braintrust will feature progressive leaders of faith who will discuss the continuing role of the Black Church and its ability to influence the direction of progressive movements.
WHAT:                 Judiciary Braintrust Panel on Communities of Faith in Progressive Politics

WHERE:               Washington Convention Center
                                Room 145-A
WHEN:                 Friday, September 21, 2012
                                1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

WHO:                   The Honorable John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.)

                                Reverend Al Sharpton, President and Founder of the National Action Network

                                The Honorable Susan Johnson Cook, Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom at the U.S. Department of State

Reverend Dr. Wendell Anthony, Fellowship Chapel in Detroit, Michigan and President of the Detroit NAACP

                                Reverend Lennox Abrigo, Seventh Day New Covenant, Hyattsville, Maryland

                                Dr. Franklyn Richardson, Grace Baptist Church in Mt. Vernon, New York

                                Reverend Charles Williams, President of the Detroit Chapter of the National Action Network, Historic King Solomon Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan

                                Reverend David Bullock, Greater St. Matthew Baptist Church and President of the Detroit Chapter of Rainbow-Push

                                Bishop Vashti McKenzie, 10th Episcopal District, African Methodist Episcopal Church

                                Reverend Juan Thomas, Esq. Chair of the Law & Religion Section of the National Bar Association

                                Reverend Timothy McDonald, First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia

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Conyers Calls Committee Hearing A Veiled Campaign Event

(WASHINGTON) – This morning, Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) delivered the following opening statement during a House Judiciary Committee hearing entitled, “Regulation Nation: The Obama Administration’s Regulatory Expansion vs. Jobs and Economic Recovery”:

“As we begin this hearing, it is important that we note and appreciate the backgrounds of our witnesses.

“One of our witnesses is an economic advisor for Mitt Romney campaign. He also co-founded a group called ‘Economists for Romney.’ Welcome.

“Another witness has contributed $50,000 to Restore our Future, a Romney campaign PAC.

“The final witness is the chair of the North Carolina Catholics for Romney Committee.

“Today’s hearing is premised on certain assumptions that are simply false. First, the Majority makes the false assumption that regulations inhibit job creation even though there is absolutely no credible evidence establishing the fact that regulations have any substantive impact on job creation.

“And, that is not just me saying this.  Bruce Bartlett, a senior policy analyst in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush Administrations, explains:

‘Republicans have a problem.  People are increasingly concerned about unemployment, but Republicans have nothing to offer them.  The G.O.P. opposes additional government spending for jobs programs and, in fact, favors big cuts in spending that would be likely to lead to further layoffs at all levels of government[.]

‘These constraints have led Republicans to embrace the idea that government regulation is the principal factor holding back employment.  They assert that Barack Obama has unleashed a tidal wave of new regulations, which has created uncertainty among businesses and prevents them from investing and hiring.

‘No hard evidence is offered for this claim; it is simply asserted as self-evident and repeated endlessly throughout the conservative echo chamber.’

“The Majority’s own witness clearly debunked the myth that regulations stymie job creation at a legislative hearing held last year. Christopher DeMuth, with the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, stated in his prepared testimony that the ‘focus on jobs . . . can lead to confusion in regulatory debates,’ and that, ‘the employment effects of regulation, while important, are indeterminate.’

Another unsubstantiated claim that the Majority makes in support of its anti-regulatory agenda is that ‘regulatory uncertainty is hurting the business community.’

Once again, Bruce Bartlett, the senior economic official from the Reagan and Bush Administrations, responds:

‘[R]egulatory uncertainty is a canard invented by Republicans that allows them to use current economic problems to pursue an agenda supported by the business community year in and year out.  In other words, it is a simple case of political opportunism, not a serious effort to deal with high unemployment.’

“So make no mistake, today’s hearing is yet another example of that political opportunism recognized by Mr. Bartlett. 

“And, perhaps the biggest canard in the Majority’s arguments for so-called regulatory reform is the purported $1.75 trillion cost of regulations based on a single study. This figure is utterly unreliable and meaningless.  Again, don’t take my word for this. The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service conducted an extensive examination of the study and found much of its methodology to be flawed. Moreover, CRS noted that the study’s authors themselves acknowledged that their analysis was ‘not meant to be a decision-making tool for lawmakers or Federal regulatory agencies to use in choosing the ‘right’ level of regulation.’ Professor Lisa Heinzerling, the Minority witness for today’s hearing, has just published a well-researched academic analysis of this study which  outlines the numerous methodological flaws in that study. I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will listen very closely to her testimony.

“Another reason to reject this meaningless figure:  it completely and blatantly ignores the overwhelming benefits of regulations. According to the Office of Management and Budget, the net benefits of regulations through the third fiscal year of the Obama Administration exceeded $91 billion, which is 25 times more than the net benefits during the first three years of the George W. Bush Administration. OMB also reports that for fiscal year 2010, federal regulations cost between $6.5 billion and $12.5 billion, but generated between $18.8 billion and $86.1 billion in benefits.

“Another concern that I have about this hearing is that it is the 16th time that the Committee has considered what is essentially the same topic:  federal agencies and rulemaking. I know regulations play a major role in ensuring the safety of the food we eat, the cars we drive, the air we breathe, and the medicine we consume. And that the Nation’s Great Recession was the result of too little, not too much regulation. Major financial distress in American history has often been triggered by a regulatory failure of some type.  The Great Depression largely resulted from the failure of severely undercapitalized banks that engaged in imprudent lending practices and other speculative activities.  The current Great Recession was largely fueled by an unregulated home mortgage industry and securitization market. 

“But come on now.  During the 112th Congress, this Committee has not held a single hearing on:

Ø  the ongoing foreclosure crisis and its crippling effect on the Nation’s ability to recover its financial stability as well as that of millions of Americans in communities across the Nation;

Ø  the nearly lifelong peonage that millions of young Americans must endure to repay private student loan debt, that even bankruptcy will not alleviate; and

Ø  the extremely deleterious effects of mandatory minimums and the resultant over-incarceration particularly has on African Americans in our Nation.

“I could go on and on listing the critical issues that this Committee – over the past 20 months – has failed to consider.

“Finally, if we were really serious about creating jobs, then we should be focusing on those measures that will actually result in creating jobs. Just over a year ago, President Obama addressed a joint session of Congress at which he presented his American Jobs Act, a comprehensive bill that would have:

Ø  cut payroll taxes for qualifying employers,

Ø  fund a work program to provide employment opportunities for low-income youths and adults;

Ø  fund various infrastructure construction projects, including the modernization of public schools; and

Ø  start a program to rehabilitate and refurbishing hundreds of thousands of foreclosed homes and businesses.
“Unfortunately, Congress chose to ignore this worthy initiative.               

“As many of you know, I have a measure – H.R. 4277, the ‘Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act’ – which aims to provide a job to any American who seeks work. My bill would create a funding mechanism to pay for job creation and training programs. These jobs would be located in the public sector, community not-for-profit organizations, and small businesses that provide community benefits. But, like the President’s proposal, my legislation has not received any consideration during this Congress, which is unfortunate because both of these measures would have, in fact, created jobs and helped our Nation’s economic recovery.

“It’s time we legislate based on facts, not rhetoric.  Unfortunately, I fear today’s hearing will not enable us to accomplish that goal.”

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Conyers Announces $96K Law Enforcement Grant for the Michigan Department of State Police

(DETROIT) – Today, the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program, within the Department of Justice, awarded a more than $96,000 law enforcement grant to the Michigan Department of State Police. Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) issued this statement in response:

“I am delighted that the Michigan Department of State Police has been awarded a grant of more than $96,000 through the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program of the Department of Justice,” said Conyers.

“This vital funding will help the Michigan Department of State Police use data analysis to reduce crime and improve public safety. In addition, this grant money will be used to hire more staff and safety personnel.

“This past August the House of Representatives passed legislation, that I was an original cosponsor of, reauthorizing the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program. I urge the Senate to take up the legislation and reauthorize this critical program that protects our local communities.”

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Conyers Welcomes Pennsylvania Supreme Court Decision Against Voter ID Law

(WASHINGTON)—Today, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in a 4-2 decision, instructed a judge on the lower Commonwealth Court to cease implementation of the state’s Voter ID law and for the lower court to further review the case. Specifically, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court instructed the Commonwealth Court to determine whether or not the law disenfranchises voters, and to assess the ease of access to ID cards. Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) released this statement following the decision:     

“I commend the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for calling into question the lower court’s findings on Voter ID laws, and for directing the lower court to re-examine the effect these laws have on the right to vote,” said Conyers.

“The law as it stands places significant restrictions on the right to vote by imposing photo ID requirements. More troubling, the exceptions to photo ID favors gun owners and the employed, and excludes poor voters, unemployed voters, and even veterans who do not have the stricter forms of ID. Simply put, upholding this law would amount to voter suppression and a restriction of the franchise.

“Fair and free elections, accessible to all, is a core principle for democracy in America. There is no more fundamental right than the right to vote, the bedrock of all of our rights under the Constitution.  We are now at a crossroads; we can continue to expand the right to vote, as we have done since the historic passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, or we can retreat to a modern day version of poll taxes.”

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Conyers Announces Two Grants Totaling $1.9 Million for the Restoration of Belle Isle

(DETROIT) – Today, the Great Lakes National Program Office in the United States Environmental Protection Agency awarded two grants totaling $1.9 million to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Friends of the Detroit River. These grants will jointly go towards the Habitat Restoration Projects program for the restoration of fish and wildlife habitats on Belle Isle. Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) issued this statement following the grant awarding ceremony:

“I am happy to announce that the Great Lakes National Program Office in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has provided two grants, totaling $1.9 million, to the Friends of the Detroit River and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative,” said Conyers.

“This grant funding will go towards restoring biodiversity and protecting the ecology in areas that had previously been contaminated on Belle Isle. Specifically, the grants will be put to use reconnecting the mouth of the Blue Heron Lagoon to the Detroit River, as well as creating a spawning reef for fish and wildlife habitats nearby the island.

“With this financial assistance, Belle Isle is on a path towards being delisted as a Great Lakes Area of Concern. Through a unique collaboration between the Friends of the Detroit River, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the City of Detroit, and Congressman Hansen Clarke, Belle Isle’s ecosystem can continue to rebuild and recover.“

BelleIsleJC (2).jpg
Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) alongside Congressman Hansen Clarke (D-Mich.) accepting grant money for the restoration of Belle Isle.

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Conyers hosts CBCF jazz concert, September 20, 2012


Washington, DC – Rep.John Conyers, Jr., of Michigan, ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, and dean of the Congressional Black Caucus, will once again serve as the Honorary Host of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s (CBCF) Jazz Issue Forum and Concert. The events will take place during the Foundation’s 42nd Annual Legislative Conference, September 19 -22, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center (WCC), 801 Mount Vernon Place, NW, Washington, DC 20001.
The Jazz Issue Forum, entitled "If You Really Are Concerned: An African-American Agenda For Jazz, " will be held from 2:00 to 4:00 pm, in Room 209-A of the WCC. The panel discussion will focus on African-America’s cultural engagement with jazz.  The panelists will include Dr. James Patterson, Clark-Atlanta University, Willard Jenkins of Open Sky Jazz as well as recording and performing artists Terri Lyne Carrington, Gerald Clayton, Antonio Hart, Jimmy Heath and Lizz Wright. Rep. John Conyers will make remarks. ALC Jazz Executive Producer Cedric Hendricks will provide an update on H.R. 2823, the National Jazz Preservation and Education Act.

The Jazz Concert will be held from 8:00 to 10:30 pm, in Ballroom A of the WCC. Doors for the concert are at 7:00 pm. At 7:30 pm, Willard Jenkins will facilitate a Meet the Artist conversation featuring Terri Lyne Carrington, Gerald Clayton, Jr., and Lizz Wright. M. Carrington’s recent recording date, a re-imagining of the Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, Max Roach collaboration, Money Jungle, will be the focus of the conversation.
The concert will open with a performance by Grammy nominated saxophonist Antonio Hart and his Quintet. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, Hart first appeared on the jazz scene in the eighties, initially as a member of Roy Hargrove’s band, and then as a leader in his own right. He has appeared on over 80 recordings, including nine as a leader. His latest is All We Need (Chiaroscuro Records). Mr. Hart also studied under Jimmy Heath at Queens College, earning his Master’s Degree. He is currently a full-time Professor at The Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College. Performing with Hart will be Jeb Patton, piano; John Lee, bass; Lee Pearson, drums; and special guest Jimmy Heath, saxophones.
Headlining the concert will be drummer Terri Lyne Carrington and her Money Jungle Project, featuring: Gerald Clayton, piano; Tia Fuller, saxophones; James Genus, bass; and Lizz Wright, vocals. The Project commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the recording of the seminal 1962 Duke Ellington LP, Money Jungle. Earlier this year, Carrington was awarded a Grammy for her ground-braking recording, The Mosaic Project, showcasing many of the leading female instrumentalists and vocalists on the scene today.
Carrington has studied, performed and recorded with some of the most important artists in contemporary Jazz, including Geri Allen, Jack DeJohnette, Herbie Hancock, Patrice Rushen, and Wayne Shorter. She was the house drummer for the Arsenio Hall Show, and has released several, critically-acclaimed recordings as a leader, including Real Life StoryJazz is a SpiritStructureMore to Say; Real Life Story and The Mosaic Project.
Rep. John Conyers will present James Edward Heath with the 2012 CBCF ALC Jazz Legacy Award for his six decades of contributions to jazz and world culture. Known worldwide as Jimmy Heath, Mr. Heath is legendary and still active as a tenor and soprano saxophonist, composer and arranger. In 2003, he was presented with the prestigious National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Jazz Master Award. Jimmy Heath is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees and lifetime achievement awards.
The oldest living member of the Philadelphia-based Heath Brothers jazz family (bassist Percy and drummer Albert), Jimmy Heath rose to prominence during the forties, as a member of the Howard McGhee Big Band. He also played with and composed for Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Kenny Dorham, Milt Jackson, and Art Blakey. Many of Heath’s compositions have become jazz standards, including “C.T.A.,” and “Gingerbread Boy.” He has minted over twenty critically acclaimed recordings, including Really Big!, Love and UnderstandingNew PictureLittle ManBig Band, and Endurance. Heath first worked as an educator with Jazzmobile, New York City’s premier not-for-profit jazz program. In 1987, he was appointed Professor of Music at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, City University of New York. Professor Heath created the Jazz Program at Queens College, where he taught and mentored a generation of musicians, before retiring in 2004. In 2010, he co-wrote I Walked With Giants: The Autobiography of Jimmy Heath, with Joseph McLaren (Temple University Press).
Both the Jazz Issue Forum and the Jazz Concert are free and open to the public.
Conference attendees may register at

Twitter – (#CBCFALC2012)

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