Before a crowd of about 70 students, former Republican vice presidential candidate Jack Kemp gave a speech on poverty and capitalism in the United States but did not address the major issues facing the GOP.
Kemp, who unsuccessfully ran for vice president with Bob Dole in 1996, is a former professional football player, member of the House of Representatives and secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He currently serves as co-director of Empower America, a conservative grassroots organization known to lobby for lower tax rates and smaller government.
In his speech, he did not did mention major current events facing the GOP, including its public image, the war in Iraq and President Bush’s appointment of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court.
“My thesis topic, theme of today’s speech, is how do we fight poverty in our capitalist system,” Kemp said in a speech sponsored by the College Republicans. “How do we take people from the lows of society and turn them into entrepreneurs?”
Kemp offered an anecdote juxtaposing his experiences as a quarterback in the American and National Football Leagues with politics. He explained that both require “mind, heart, and soul.”
Without providing specific details in his address, Kemp encouraged conservatives to remain loyal to traditional Republican ideals.
“Property needs to be private, because it is a well-known fact that you treat things differently when you own them,” Kemp said.
“Also trade needs to be free and the tax rates must be lowered to bring the disenfranchised out of the depths of perpetuity,” Kemp said.
He advocated for the elimination of the capital gains tax to promote greater all-around investment, described the importance of restoring the black vote to the “Party of Lincoln” and forcibly defended lowering the tax rates in order to “paradoxically” increase revenue.
A focus of Kemp’s speech was on National Enterprise Zones of Choice – a plan to increase investment in poor urban neighborhoods.
Kemp described the zones as “a tax-free incentive system to invest your money, i.e. capital gains, into communities such as East St. Louis or South Chicago.”
Sophomore Chris Brooks, the GW College Republicans’ public relations director, described Kemp as a “diverse and experienced Republican political figure – someone different, but well-known.”