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WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, birthday, which will be observed on Monday, January 16:
“On January 16, America will observe the birthday of one its bravest and most influential national heroes, the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The celebration of the life and work of Dr. King sounds a call to Americans to continue working to ensure the equality and civil rights of all citizens, and I can think of no more appropriate way to honor Dr. King than for President Bush and Congress to join in supporting full election reform and protecting voting rights.
“One of the landmark achievements of the Civil Rights Movement, led by Dr. King, was the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Voting Rights Act was a major step forward in America’s quest to live up to our ideals of equality and justice that are admired worldwide. Certain parts of the VRA are scheduled to expire in 2007. It is therefore critical to the legacy of the Dr. King to reauthorize those provisions this year, so that no American’s franchise is denied or impeded. When it was first voted on 40 years ago, the VRA received broad bipartisan support. There is no reason that should not be the case this year.
“Dr. King led not just through his words, but also by his actions, and every generation of Americans remains inspired by his monumental accomplishments. We must work together to fulfill the dreams of equality and civil rights that he spread across the country, but tragically did not live to see fully materialized.”