WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) today released the following statement in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday on January 16th (observed January 17th):
“On Monday we will celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who led the fight to bring true equality and justice to all Americans. His efforts earned him a Nobel peace prize and world-wide recognition. But more importantly, he gave this nation the immeasurable gift of a better future.
“Dr. King understood that the right to vote is the bedrock of our democracy. In the past two presidential elections, reports of voting irregularities have undercut some Americans’ confidence in their right to vote. Without faith in the electoral system, citizens feel they have no voice. Dr. King warned, ‘There is nothing more dangerous than to build a society, with a large segment of people in that society, who feel that they have no stake in it; who feel that they have nothing to lose.’”
“As we honor Dr. King’s birthday, I hope President Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress will join Democrats in redoubling our effort to ensure that the right to vote is protected and that every vote is counted accurately. I am closely studying the results of the recent election to see how the landmark election law, the Help America Vote Act, improved the election and where we still have work to do.
“Other problems that Dr. King fought to eliminate still plague America. Discrimination is no longer safe in the ranks of social, political and legal realms, but its shadow of poverty, ignorance, and injustice remain.
“Dr. King’s bold and active leadership should be a model for our country’s lawmakers today. The laws that we enact, such as No Child Left Behind and the Help America Vote Act, must be more than just rhetoric. As the new session of Congress begins, I hope Republicans can join with Democrats to enact policies that will make life better for all Americans.”