Monday, October 09, 2006

Anne Northup AWOL from NAACP debate

Northup criticized in absentia at debate
NAACP gives her 'F' on voting record

By Kay Stewart
The Courier-Journal

With Republican U.S. Rep. Anne Northup absent to attend a family dinner, her Democratic opponent, John Yarmuth, told a debate audience last night that Northup for too long has avoided discussing issues relevant to the African-American community.

"As you can see tonight," he said, "she continues to avoid discussing the issues of relevance to African Americans."

Yarmuth was joined by Libertarian candidate Donna Mancini and Constitution Party candidate W. Ed Parker at the 3rd Congressional District debate at Meyzeek Middle School.

About 180 people attended the event, which was sponsored by several organizations including the Louisville branch of the NAACP, the Louisville Urban League and the Interdenominational Ministerial Coalition.

Northup, who is scheduled to participate in several debates with her Democratic challenger this month, said last week that she had a conflicting dinner and can't attend every event, preferring those that address the broadest topics.

The NAACP gave Northup a grade of "F" based on her voting record, and copies of that rating were handed out.

Raoul Cunningham, president of the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, moderated the debate and cited that grade in his opening remarks, adding, "We're nonpartisan."

Patrick Neely, Northup's campaign manager, said last night that "Northup has deep and long-lasting ties to the African-American community. She's been honored to serve them, and we believe the African-American community knows the difference between a partisan rally and thoughtful representation."

In response to questions posed by a panel, Yarmuth said that if elected he'll work for universal health-care coverage and raising the minimum wage. He said he thought the federal No Child Left Behind legislation needed to be scrapped or revised because it wasn't living up to its name.

He received applause several times, including for his observation that 90 percent of Americans have not had their economic well-being increase while corporate profits have risen to record levels in recent years.

Mancini, 55, a registered dietitian, said she believed in less government and that "people should keep their own money and run their own life."

Parker, 82, said he's "studied the present Congress" and concluded that "all of us here are better qualified," adding, "We have a corrupt Congress."

All three spoke against the Iraq war.

Yarmuth said the chances of "accomplishing anything good" are small, and he favors withdrawing troops beginning immediately.

Mancini said all troops worldwide should come home, and Parker, a World War II Navy pilot, said he was fighting "for my country -- not somebody else's."

Vicky Layne, 36, a teacher at Englehard Elementary School, declined to say who she would vote for but expressed disappointment Northup did not attend. "That said a lot," she said.

Layne said she agreed with the candidates that the No Child Left Behind Law has drawbacks and said she was concerned about the Iraq war.

Delquan Dorsey, 32, a member of the NAACP and a community organizer for the Center for Neighborhoods, a nonprofit group, said he was concerned about lagging educational achievement among minorities and the poor and the Bush administration's attitude on the Iraq war.

Although Northup has secured funds for programs in the African-American community, he said her votes on policies "go another way."

Twins Adwin and Ayana Lowry, 13, students at Meyzeek, said they are following the election and that they will urge their parents to vote for Northup. Ayana said Northup has visited their church, New Zion Baptist, adding, "She's done a lot for our community."

Reporter Kay Stewart can be reached at (502) 582-4114.

I wholeheartedly agree with twins Ayana and Adwin Lowry. Northup has done a lot for our community and I was very disappointed when she lost the election, but now lets the the governors office!
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