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Thursday, April 11, 2013

First Lady Gives First Priority to the Issues

'Safer Communities, Brighter Futures'.

First Lady Michelle Obama, in unison with her husband on the issues of gun violence and youth education, spoke at two events in her hometown of Chicago this week.

Speaking on Wednesday at a joint luncheon meeting in Chicago hosted by Mayor Rahm Emanuel that included members of Chicago's leading civic organizations, Mrs. Obama urged Chicago¹s business leaders to invest in expanded opportunities for youth across Chicago¹s neighborhoods.



The first lady reminded the assembled audience that one doesn't have to be born of wealth and privilege to be successful, as long as the community provides opportunities.

"But thanks in part to this city, our lives were still rich with opportunities.  We had decent public schools.  I am a product of our public schools.  We attended the Chicago Park District summer camps.  Got a lot of ribbons from those camps I’m quite proud of.  Played basketball on city courts.  Our churches ran programs to expose us to music and the arts.  So we didn’t have to be children of privilege to get the opportunity to enrich ourselves."

Mrs. Obama frequently talks about her journey as a child growing up on the South Side of Chicago to reaching amazing heights as First Lady of the United States.

"So, you in this room know firsthand the impact that we can have when this city truly invests in our children", said Mrs. Obama.  "And that’s something I know from my own experience, which is why it was so important for me to be here today."

The first lady also spoke, in Chicago, at a William Harper High School on the issue of gun violence.

Mrs. Obama wanted to not only give advice, but was also present as one concerned about their issues.

"I'm a participant in today's activities", the first lady said.  "And I want you to feel  free to do what you do, but I want you to at some point be able to ask me whatever you want to know.  Whatever I can tell you, I find it's always better to hear from you and hear what you  want, to find out what I can tell you" she said.

In her hometown, as in other major cities across the country, youth gun violence is a major issue.  There have been more than 200 gun related deaths in Chicago this year, however, it has taken the tragic event at Sandy Hook for the Obama administration to begin to fiercely act on the issue of gun violence, asking for universal background checks for gun purchasers, among the items slated to make it harder for 'dangerous' Americans to obtain guns.

Gun advocates are in opposition of the Obama strategy arguing that the Second Amendment rights of individuals would be violated.

Initially, the current legislation garnered a small amount of bipartisan support.  Senators Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey have offered their support for the gun legislation, while the majority of Republicans have not been as forth coming.

Grateful for the support of Manchin and Toomey, the president is suggesting that other Congressional leaders get on board.

Said President Obama, "Congress needs to finish the job.  The Senate must overcome obstruction by defeating a threatened filibuster, and allow a vote on this and other commonsense reforms to protect our kids and our communities.  Any bill still has to clear the House.  So I’m going to keep asking the American people to stand up and raise their voices, because these measures deserve a vote – and so do the families and communities they’re designed to protect."

The president traveled to Hartford, CT this past Monday where he gave remarks on reducing gun violence.

A Win for the Administration?

The Huffington Post is reporting that earlier today The Senate cleared a major procedural hurdle on Thursday as it voted to overcome a Republican filibuster effort and begin debate on a gun control package.

Senators voted 68 to 31 take up the bill put forward by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that would expand background checks to more gun buyers, form a national commission on mass violence, create a federal gun trafficking statute and enhance school safety measures. The procedural motion required 60 votes to pass, and Republicans had been dodging questions for days on how they would vote.

Related
How the administration planned to reduce gun violence
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