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Southern black mayors pen letter to 2020 Democrats: 'We want to be represented'

Southern black mayors pen letter to 2020 Democrats: 'We want to be represented'
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Four African American mayors in Southern cities penned a letter telling candidates running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination that the only way they will endorse their White House bid is if candidates present detailed ideas for issues affecting their communities.

The Democratic mayors of New Orleans; Columbia, S.C.; Jackson, Miss.; and Birmingham, Ala.; wrote that they represent approximately 1.7 million residents, “345,000 Democratic voters, and importantly, 196 Democratic delegates in 2020 from the states our cities serve.”

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“The Democratic nomination runs through our communities,” they wrote in the letter, available on Medium. “And given the power that we wield in this primary process, we fully intend to use our influence and elevate the interests of our residents to ensure that your campaigns deliver a value proposition consistent with their distinct needs.”

The letter asks presidential campaigns to provide detailed proposals about a number of issues including but not limited to: affordable housing, infrastructure, comprehensive criminal justice reform, climate change, immigration and gender equity.

“The matters listed above represent the kind of human rights and development agenda that is essential for our cities to meet the needs of residents and move our economies forward,” the letter states.

The letter is meant as a method to bring attention to urban centers in the South that the mayors said can be overlooked during presidential campaigning, according to The Washington Post.

“We’ve got something to say,” said Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin. “We weigh in because the national conversation is often removed from what we represent.”

Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba added that “we don’t want to be an afterthought.”

“Just like anybody else, we want to be represented,” Lumumba said.

Some candidates have already released policy proposals on a number of the issues outlined in the letter, but the mayors are hoping to spark more conversation.

“I do worry that the conversations have not been in-depth and substantive enough in the issues articulated in the letter,” said Steve Benjamin, the mayor of Columbia, in an interview with the Post.

The letter comes days after nearly 60 U.S. mayors from other parts of the country wrote an op-ed expressing their support for South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete Buttigieg'Biff is president': Michael J. Fox says Trump has played on 'every worst instinct in mankind' Buttigieg: Denying Biden intelligence briefings is about protecting Trump's 'ego' Biden's win is not a policy mandate — he should govern accordingly MORE's bid for the White House.