While both Michigan Democratic and Republican State Conventions took place over the weekend we, as urban conservatives, must move forward. Democrats are bragging about how President Obama has an urban policy agenda while Republicans do not even have one. A word to the wise for my GOP colleagues. In 2010 and beyond, we will need to craft, implement and execute an urban policy plan if we are going to have success in the inner cities.
Part of creating a GOP urban policy agenda is first understanding how this will fit into the framework of urban conservatism through silver rights. Take a look at the following paragraph.
Over nine million people pass through America's local jails each year and these individuals often receive little in the way of services, support, or supervision as they leave jail and reenter the community. This is highlighted in urban areas across Michigan as 1 out of 3 Black men will return back to our community.
Therefore, under an urban policy agenda that tackles this issue we need to develop and support what is called a jail transition strategy. We need to break the local barriers and assets is especially relevant in the area of jail transition, in that most people exiting jail return to a relatively small number of nearby communities where resources are often scarce and must be efficiently targeted. Implementing an urban policy on this will help review jail management information systems and program records maintained by community agencies to identify the characteristics and needs of the jail population as well as the range of available resources. This baseline information is critical to the accurate assessment of key issues and the development of an appropriate set of integrated responses.
Another item that my colleagues will not touch on an urban level is how there are an unacceptably high number of urban Michigan residents that lack health insurance. Thousands of urban Michigan residents under age 65 did not have health insurance coverage at some time during the year.
Improvements can include urban cities establish an in formation clearinghouse on health insurance products as well as that the Michigan Department of Health provide analytic support to the further development of the a Healthy Michigan proposal, a public reinsurance program for small business health insurance plans.
Other urban policy agenda line items can include how local neighborhood conditions matter. Civic infrastructure in poor neighborhoods tends to be fragile and transient. How do we create a better neighborhood? By supporting our non-profit organizations. Within these non-profits programs should be "family focused." This is where religious congregations could be potential resources. This is where our social conservatives need to STEP UP to the plate.
One thing I want to point out is the fact that programmatic interventions must be tailored to fit local conditions. While a specific strategy may be effective in one neighborhood, it may fail to produce the desired results in another community because organizational and environmental factors vary greatly from place to place. Indeed, the efficacy of strategies are constrained by organizational and socio-political environments, which provide their own challenges. Instead, programmatic approaches should be tailored to support and strengthen existing organizational assets and community resources or to fill gaps in the local infrastructure. This is what groups like the Skillman Foundation is doing here in Detroit.
Also, making a difference in the lives of children and families in poor neighborhoods requires periodic monitoring of organizational and environmental conditions. While effective place-based strategies must begin with a solid understanding of the organizational and environmental characteristics of the neighborhood, they also require on-going monitoring of organizational and environmental change. This process provides an invaluable and essential feedback loop to make programmatic adjustments that fit current needs and conditions.
Gov. Jennifer Granholm developed her cool cities initiative. Well there is nothing cool about cutting funding for the arts and a 20% unemployment rate in Muskegon. This is where the GOP may be able to find common ground with potential voters if we lay out a urban agenda plan.
I will be talking about more urban policy initiatives in the weeks to come but if the GOP want to win in areas such as Detroit, Benton Harbor, Muskegon, Pontiac, Flint and Saginaw I highly recommend that we work together as a group and not individual districts. The 2nd, 3rd,5th, 6th, 7th, 8th,9th,12th, 13th, 14th, and 15th GOP Congressional Districts in Michigan all have urban areas. I am calling on these new Vice-Chairs to assist in putting together this agenda that will help penetrate these communities.
Derek Moss who was elected as the new Ethnic-Vice Chair of the Michigan GOP. (We need to change the name of that title).
Troy Rolling was elected as our new Grassroots Vice-Chair of the Michigan GOP. Both of them will be instrumental in moving Michigan forward. I know both of them very well and I am looking forward to working and assisting them both because they are the real deal.
Again, it does not make sense for Michigan Democrats to run as pro-gun, pro-life candidates in traditional GOP strongholds in Michigan and win elections. It's time to go into the inner cities and make that happen. You cannot do that without an urban agenda and an execution plan. So it's time to get out of the dark ages and diversify our party. This is why urban conservatism is very important.