Q & A with Renee Amoore

Renee Amoore
Why did Condi Rice, more so than Colin Powell, suffer attacks from within the black community?

One reason is that people think that, because she has had a relationship with the Bush’s for many years, she will never disagree with the president and is anchored right under his thumb. Another reason is that people believe she was not really honest about the war, and what happened during 9/11. I think once people get to learn who she is, and how she deals with policies in government, they will be really impressed with her. She just needs the opportunity and a chance to do that.

How are black conservatives such as yourself received in the African-American community, which is largely Democratic. Are you perceived, as scholar Shelby Steele once said, as “not truly Black.”

You are absolutely right. However, in the Pennsylvania community people know my history. I am a third-generation Republican, so they understand that I did not just adopt the Republican party — I was born into it. As you can see now, more and more Blacks are voting for Republicans of color because they are starting to see what the Republican Party is doing with small business and economic development. In a recent meeting between President Bush and African-American civic, business, and church leaders, it was revealed that a lot of African-Americans church ministers endorsed the president in this past election because of his stand on gay rights. More and more African-Americans are beginning to return to their Republican Party roots. The more black Republicans brag about their ownership rights in the party, the more people will stop viewing the party as only for rich, white men.

However, the president only received 11 percent of the black vote, a small jump from nine percent in 2000. Why was that?

I think any jump was positive. I also think that a lot of folks don’t look at the Republic Party in terms of its conservatism. African-Americans tend to think that the party is just all white people trying to tell them what to do. But that jump shows that a lot more blacks, especially the younger, educated generation, came out for Bush.

You recently said, "Whoever is in the president’s office, we will need their help for our community. We need to get out of attack mode and find a way to work together. The president is willing to listen.” What exactly should the black community push this administration to accomplish over the next four years?

Four years ago we talked about healthcare in the African-American community, particularly AIDS. Another issue is economic development — securing jobs for the black community, as well as giving small black-owned businesses equal treatment. Healthcare, education, economic development, jobs, and homeownership are just a few things that the administration needs to keep focused on for the African-American community.

In a recent speech to the Congressional Black Caucus, the president argued that his reforms, ranging from education to Social Security, will help blacks. Do you agree with the president that "Civil rights is a good education. Civil rights is opportunity. Civil rights is homeownership. Civil rights is owning your own business?"

Yes, civil rights really involves all those things. However, as the president stated in his inauguration speech, we need to really examine racism in this country, make sure people are working on an even playing field, because that has not really happened for people of color, and African-Americans in particular.

Economic empowerment can bring some degree of racial justice for African-Americans. However, a lot of different pieces, such as healthcare and education, make up the civil rights picture in America, and what needs to be done to truly create an even playing field for all Americans.

Concerning healthcare, a lot of African-American leaders believe the Bush administration has done nothing. How would you grade Bush’s healthcare policy plan in respect to the African-American community?

People have overlooked the fact that the president has improved healthcare access for African-Americans who could not afford it before. As far as AIDS in the U.S., there are now a lot of clinics that are testing people for free. There’s also a lot more clinics offering preventative healthcare, especially for African-American women, who are the fastest growing population being infected with the disease. The fact that the black community now has affordable access to all these resources is a major improvement. However, sadly, no matter what the president does in a lot of arenas, some people are just not going to agree with it because he is the president and he is Republican. No matter what happens, it’s not going to be seen as enough. He can’t attack everything at once, he has to take steps. And I feel strongly that he has done just that: Taken steps in each area to make an improvement.

Why are you an advocate for a museum of African-American culture on the Mall in Washington, D.C.?

My God! We have brought so much to the table in history, and people need to learn our history. For us to even get the legislation, and it took about three years, was wonderful. We finally got the House and the Senate to understand the importance of the museum to African-American’s legacy. People can go there, look at it, be proud, feel some of the pain from the exhibits, and feel the happiness. There’s an American Indian Museum, a Jewish Museum — why not an African-American? This was something African-Americans have been rallying for since the early 1900s.

In 1995, Renee Amoore founded the health care management and consulting firm, Amoore Group in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. The company includes Amoore Health Systems, a local service provider and health care consultant; 521 Management Group, a public relations and governmental liaison business; and Ramsey Educational and Development Institute, which provides programs focusing on job creation and workplace diversity. In 1992, she was elected to Pennsylvania's Republican State Committee and became its deputy chair in 1996.