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Politics Congressional Black Caucus member endorses Mike Bloomberg for president

07:30  22 january  2020
07:30  22 january  2020 Source:   abcnews.go.com

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CHICAGO — Today, Democratic Illinois Congressman and a senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus Bobby L. Rush endorsed Mike Bloomberg for president , touting his executive and government experience as what is needed to unite the country and defeat Donald Trump.

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Mike Bloomberg's campaign has won the support of a significant voice in the House of Representatives. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., announced Tuesday evening that he would endorse the former New York City mayor's bid for the White House.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Congressman Bobby Rush speaks to the crowd at a rally for Illinois Governor Pat Quinn at the Chicago State University Convocation Center, Oct. 19, 2014, in Chicago.© Ralf-Finn Hestoft/Corbis via Getty Images, FILE Congressman Bobby Rush speaks to the crowd at a rally for Illinois Governor Pat Quinn at the Chicago State University Convocation Center, Oct. 19, 2014, in Chicago.

Rush is Bloomberg's fourth endorsement in a rapidfire slew of congressional endorsements, joining Reps. Harley Rouda, D-Calif., Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., and Max Rose, D-N.Y.

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“The city Mike Bloomberg inherited in 2002 was reeling from the worst terrorist attack in American history and facing economic recession. Mike Bloomberg took the reins, brought New York City back to life and put us on track to lead in the 21st century,” said Congressman Max Rose.

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Rush, however, carries special clout as a prominent figure among the African American community, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and a longtime civil rights activist. He was also a co-founder of the Black Panthers movement in Illinois in the 1960s. Rush is the first African American House member to endorse Bloomberg.

He previously endorsed and supported Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., prior to her exit from the Democratic primary.

Rush was an early endorsement for then-freshman Sen. Barack Obama during the 2008 election.

Michael Bloomberg wearing a suit and tie standing in front of a sign: Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg prepares to leave the stage after speaking at an organizing event in Atlanta on Jan. 10, 2020.© Christopher Aluka Berry/Reuters Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg prepares to leave the stage after speaking at an organizing event in Atlanta on Jan. 10, 2020.

The endorsement comes on the heels of a speech Bloomberg gave on the eve of Martin Luther King Day in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on racial wealth disparities -- highlighting the Greenwood neighborhood riots that ravaged an affluent black community in 1921. Moreover, Bloomberg acknowledged his own white privilege and said he would likely not be in the position he is in if he were black.

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"Mike gets it, he instinctively understands that economic opportunity -- economic equity -- has been and for far too long, ignored for African-Americans," Rush said in a statement. "He alone, among the current Democratic candidates, has been the clearest, the most focused, and the most reasonable voice for addressing the depressed state of the African-American economy. His Greenwood Initiative is not only inspirational, it's practical and it's doable."

Bloomberg's hopes for the Democratic nomination intertwine with past struggles on the issue of race. He kicked off his campaign with an apology for discriminatory stop-and-frisk policing when he was mayor of New York City and has continued efforts to build trust and support in black and brown communities.

Bobby Rush wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: Congressman Bobby Rush speaks to the crowd at a rally for Illinois Governor Pat Quinn at the Chicago State University Convocation Center, Oct. 19, 2014, in Chicago.© Ralf-Finn Hestoft/Corbis via Getty Images, FILE Congressman Bobby Rush speaks to the crowd at a rally for Illinois Governor Pat Quinn at the Chicago State University Convocation Center, Oct. 19, 2014, in Chicago.

Rush will now serve as a national co-chair for the Bloomberg campaign, and advise on "a number of key political and policy issues," the campaign said in announcing Rush's endorsement.

Bloomberg thanked Rush for his endorsement, calling him a "force for change."

"Congressman Bobby Rush has dedicated his life to building a more open, inclusive, equitable, just and prosperous America," Bloomberg said in a statement. "I'm honored to have his support -- and as our campaign continues to build momentum, we will benefit from the wisdom and advice he will offer."

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