Candidate would end race-based congressional caucuses

The Associated PressJanuary 26, 2007 

— White House hopeful Tom Tancredo said Thursday the existence of the Congressional Black Caucus and other race-based groups of lawmakers amount to segregation and should be abolished.

"It is utterly hypocritical for Congress to extol the virtues of a colorblind society while officially sanctioning caucuses that are based solely on race," said the Colorado Republican, who is scheduled to pitch his long-shot presidential bid this weekend in New Hampshire.

Tancredo's request to ban the caucuses was relayed in a letter to Administration Committee Chairwoman Juanita Millender-McDonald, D-Calif. Besides the Congressional Black Caucus, Democrats also have a Hispanic caucus with 21 members, and Republicans have a comparable Hispanic conference with five full members and 11 "associate" members who are not Hispanic.

The request came in the wake of reports that freshman Rep. Stephen Cohen, D-Tenn., was refused admission to the Congressional Black Caucus because he is white. All 43 caucus members are black.

Cohen said in a statement that he told a reporter that he would be honored to join the caucus but did not apply, "nor has the CBC denied membership to me."

However, the group would not have permitted Cohen to join, said Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Mich., its new chairwoman. The caucus decided early on that official membership would be restricted to blacks, she said.

All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be published, broadcast or redistributed in any manner.

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service