I’m fresh off my visit with the Executive Office of the President and White House staff. I want to share with you all about our meeting through multi-blog posts. The meeting including advisers from the Executive Office of the President and other administration officials. I was a part of a delegation of “goodwill Baptists”, in which there were about 60 of us from around the country. Robert Parham, executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics, and Ricky Creech, executive director/minister of the District of Columbia Baptist Convention put the meeting together.
The meeting took place in the White House Executive Office Building. Some of the people/offices we talked with:
- Jannah Scott, Deputy Director of the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnership
- B.J. Douglas, Engram Lloyd and Paula Lincoln of the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development
- Felicia Escobar, a Senior Policy Adviser for the Domestic Policy Council,
- Chris Vaeth, Adviser for the Office of Community Affairs for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- Julie Rodriquez, Associate Director for the Office of Public Engagement
- Paul Monteiro, Associate Director for Office of Public Engagement
- Engram Lloyd, Housing and Urban Development
What do our meeting look like? Several of the above individuals explained what their office does, what issues their addressing, and took questions/comments. Although I would have enjoyed more comments/questions from us Baptists, this meeting covered an array of issues. We discussed clean water standards, sex trafficking, payday loans, mortgage dept relief, faith-based programs, disaster relief. To see the meeting and comments, check out our Twitter hashtag #baptistsatWH.
There were a number of shocking and encouraging information points:
- The administration makes fighting human tracking a priority
- Obama briefed every morning on energy prices
- 1 in 4 school children are Latino
- 9 million more Latinos now have access to heath care b/c of Affordable Care Act
- 10.5% unemployment among Latinos. Growing jobs helping to lower that rate.
- Fastest growing segment of new small business are Latino
- Payday lending, students, military, elders: economically vulnerable, 855-411-CFPB call for complaints of consumer issues
- Major back up on Green Card requests. Changing process so that people don’t have to leave US for a waiver.
- At 14 federal agencies, there are faith-based program offices
- April 9, people with FHA insured housing loans can begin to qualify for FHA refinance
- 2-3 million will qualify for new Obama FHA loans
- People in foreclosure get overwhelmed and frustrated, call HUD 202.708.2404
- “Making Homes Affordable” Call 1 800 995 HOPE if in foreclosure trouble
Who else was there? A number of Baptists. Some friends and colleagues: Rev. Dr. Bill Shiell, Rev. Elizabeth Evans-Hagan, Rev. Dr. Aidsand Wright-Riggins, and Rev. Dr. Lee Spitzer Also some other Baptist figures and pastor were there such as Colleen Burroughs and Rev. Dr. Amy Butler.
I’ll have part two of my White House office visit tomorrow where you’ll get my perspective on the administration, the nature of the meeting, the feel from the White House staff, and more.