Exclusive: John Delaney's 'Commitment to Black America' Includes Help for HBCUs and Beefed Up Police Oversight

Photo: John Delaney’s Facebook Page

Presidential candidate John Delaney is pledging to use federal dollars to fund start-up incubators at HBCUs, end the use of cash bail at the federal level, remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substance Act, and increase funding for body cameras for police officers, according to a copy of his “Commitment to Black America” plan provided exclusively to The Root.

Delaney, who is a former U.S. congressman from Maryland and is barely registering in national polls, will need significant buy-in from African-American voters to have a remote chance of being competitive. He is scheduled to speak this morning and share his plan at the National Action Network conference in New York City, where many of America’s leading black civil rights activists will be in attendance.

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Other areas Delaney wants to address to help black voters include increasing funding for community policing and the re-institution of Obama-era Department of Justice oversight of police departments that show clear patterns of abusive behavior.

As for health disparities, he cites a lot of stats on the how black people are more disadvantaged than other groups and says a proposed “universal health care plan will eliminate a clear barrier to accessing care and medical services” and that he would “implement Pay For Success programs like the Nurse-Family Partnership program in South Carolina to improve health outcomes during first two years of a child’s life.”

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If the above mentioned sentences read vaguely, your eyes are not deceiving you.

We will be interviewing Delaney today and will try and address any gaps in his plan.

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To give readers a full, objective look at Delaney’s “Commitment to America,” The Root is publishing the full plan for everyone to make up their own minds.

Here is Delaney’s full proposal, as provided to The Root:

Commitment to Black America:

The U.S. has a long and difficult history when it comes to the treatment of African American and other minority communities. While we have taken meaningful steps to update our laws and regulations to address racial discrimination, we have still not ended systemic racism. In addition, economic data continues to show stark racial inequality. In 2017, the median income of black households was nearly $28,000 lower than the median income for white households, and black Americans lived in poverty at more than double the rate of white Americans. The lack of upward economic mobility persists as a major issue for black families. Black households are likelier to be at the bottom of the income distribution, and more than half of black children born in the lowest-income households remain at the bottom as adults. For white households in the same position, two thirds of children will rise to higher income quintiles as adults. In order to level the playing field and create a country that works for all Americans, there are clear racial disparities that must, and can, be addressed.

Access to Capital Disparity: 6.5% of American households are unbanked, meaning that no one in the household has either a checking or a savings account. For black households, that rate is 16.9%.Delaney has proposed legislation to create nonprofit banks to increase access to banking services in distressed communities. Banks don’t currently serve these communities. To solve this problem, we need to allow for philanthropic, non-profit banks, specifically to serve these distressed communitiesEnsure minority entrepreneurs have access to capital (an example is to create a new SBIC program to encourage entrepreneurship and focus venture capital investment to distressed communities) Restore CFPB’s focus on anti-discrimination regulations in financial services to ensure people aren’t discriminated againstInvest targeted infrastructure funding in minority communities to address issues including inadequate water systems and expanding public transportationCreate a federal grant program to fund start up incubators at HBCUsInstitute a tax credit to promote venture capital investments in minority-owned businesses

Criminal Justice Disparity: Our criminal justice system has a demonstrated clear bias against people of color. Black people, who are approximately 13% of the US population, make up 40% of the incarcerated population. A Delaney administration will work to:End or limit the use of money bail in the federal criminal justice system and encourage states to pursue similar reforms. Cash bail is excessive, discriminatory, and costly for taxpayers and communitiesEnd for-profit prisonsEliminate mandatory minimum sentences Increase funding for public defendersEnd the death penaltyIncrease funding for police body camerasPromote “ban the box” policiesProvide federal funding for training and support of police officers designed to prevent racial profiling and generally encourage de-escalationReemphasize Obama era DOJ oversight authorities of law enforcement practices that demonstrate a pattern of abuse or misconductRemove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substance Act and create strong federal guidelines and taxation polices to support decisions at the state level Increase federal support for recidivism reduction programs that have proven to be effectiveIncrease funding for Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program to increase community policing

Education Disparity: Education is the great equalizer. All students, however, don’t have access to the same quality education. Since public schools are funded primarily through property taxes, schools in lower income areas receive fewer resources to prepare their students for the future. In 2016, the funding gap between predominantly white and predominantly black school districts was $23 billion. Additionally, graduation rates at U.S. public high schools is 69 percent for black students versus 86 percent for white students. Increase funds to low income schools through increases to Title I fundingExpand universal education to include Prek-14 (includes two year community college or technical training)Expand 0-3 child care availability for low income familiesExpand federal grants for community-based programs focused on supporting and mentoring struggling students like the non-profit organization, Thread, located in Baltimore, MD

Physical Health Disparity: There are vivid and unacceptable racial disparities in U.S. health outcomes, especially in the maternal mortality rate. During 2011-2014, the pregnancy related mortality ratio for black women was 40.0 deaths per 100,000 live births, while for white women it was only 12.4 deaths per 100,000 live births. Additionally, life expectancy for black Americans is 74.7 years, nearly four years lower than the average for white Americans, and the cancer mortality rate for black Americans is 16% higher than for white people. We must do better.Delaney’s universal health care plan will eliminate a clear barrier to accessing care and medical servicesImplement Pay For Success programs like the Nurse-Family Partnership program in South Carolina to improve health outcomes during first two years of a child’s life

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About the author

Terrell Jermaine Starr

Terrell Jermaine Starr is a senior reporter at The Root. He is currently writing a book proposal that analyzes US-Russia relations from a black perspective.

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