DC Vote Remembers Jack Kemp
District Residents Lose a Champion of Democracy
For more information contact: James Jones, Communications Director
202.462.6000 x12 office / 202.557.4864 mobile / firstname.lastname@example.org
May 4, 2009
Washington, DC - DC Vote Executive Director, Ilir Zherka, reflects on the passing of Jack Kemp, former Congressman and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. The following statement may be quoted in full or in part:
"I felt terribly saddened by the news. We have lost a truly remarkable person and an incredible ally in our fight for justice.
Kemp was one of those rare souls. Always smiling, forever optimistic. I was struck by how his conservative philosophy centered around strengthening urban environments. Kemp cared about people. He especially cared about the underprivileged, the underserved, and the disenfranchised.
Jack Kemp really cared about the District of Columbia. In fact, he wrote an article after Hurricane Katrina urging his Republican colleagues to take on the plight of urban America. Kemp argued that the District of Columbia should be at the center of the campaign to rebuild our cities. Right around that time, he also took on the fight to secure voting representation in Congress for DC residents.
Kemp became the happy warrior of the DC voting rights movement. He attended DC Vote rallies whenever we asked. He called his Republican colleagues in the House and the Senate, and lobbied them whenever he could. He successfully convinced Representative Dan Burton to change his vote, recruited up-and-coming leader, Representative Mike Pence to the fight, and helped convince current GOP Chair Michael Steele to support us. When ground was dedicated on the National Mall for the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Kemp spoke more passionately about DC voting rights than any other speaker that day. His firm, Kemp Partners, put in untold hours lobbying on DC Vote's behalf, but never asked for a cent in return.
In 2006, we took time to honor Jack Kemp's commitment as DC Vote's Champion of Democracy. I am happy we honored him as a champion for the movement - he was that and so much more. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."