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Reaching Out to Minorities

Two of this evening's primetime speakers at the Republican National Convention in New York City are African-Americans. Rod Paige, the U.S. Secretary of Education will speak and so will Michael Steele, Maryland's Lieutenant Governor. KSMU's Missy Shelton is in New York City and spoke with several Missourians about the efforts of the Republican party to reach out to minorities.

AMONG THE 57 DELEGATES FROM MISSOURI, THERE ARE AFRICAN-AMERICANS, HISPANICS AND AN ASIAN-AMERICAN WOMAN WHO WAS BORN IN JAPAN.

RITA HUNTER IS A MISSOURI DELEGATE FROM JOPLIN.

SHE SAYS WHEN HER MOTHER MOVED TO THE U-S FROM JAPAN, SHE BECAME A REPUBLICAN RIGHT AWAY.

SHE SAYS LIKE HER MOTHER BEFORE HER, SHE'S A REPUBLICAN BECAUSE THE PARTY REPRESENTS THE VALUES SHE LEARNED AS A CHILD RAISED BY AN ASIAN MOTHER.

HUNTER SAYS THE REPUBLICAN PARTY HAS DONE A GOOD JOB REACHING OUT TO ASIAN AMERICANS.

BUT WHEN IT COMES TO AFRICAN-AMERICANS, THEY TEND TO IDENTIFY WITH THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY'BUT SOME SAY THE DEMOCRATS HAVE TAKEN THE MINORITY VOTE FOR GRANTED.

GIVEN THAT, MINORITIES IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY SAY NOW IS AN OPPORTUNE TIME TO COURT THOSE DISENCHANTED AFRICAN-AMERICAN VOTERS.

STATE REPRESENTATIVE SHERMAN PARKER IS THE ONLY BLACK REPUBLICAN IN THE MISSOURI LEGISLATURE.

HE SAYS BLACK VOTERS NEED TO EXAMINE CLOSELY THE WAY DEMOCRATS HAVE TREATED CERTAIN ELECTED OFFICIALS.

AND PARKER SAYS THE REPUBLICAN PARTY HAS MADE THE LIVES OF AFRICAN-AMERICANS BETTER.

MISSOURI DELEGATE YVONNE HUNTER AGREES.

SHE'S AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN WHO BECAME A REPUBLICAN MORE THAN 20 YEARS AGO.

YVONNE HUNTER SAYS MORE BLACK VOTERS WOULD SUPPORT REPUBLICANS IF THEY KNEW MORE ABOUT THE PARTY.

SHE URGES THE REPUBLICAN PARTY LEADERS TO REACH OUT TO THOSE VOTERS.

AND AFRICAN-AMERICAN AREN'T THE ONLY MINORITIES REPUBLICANS ARE TARGETING.

THEY'RE ALSO REACHING OUT TO HISPANIC VOTERS.

TO HELP WITH THAT EFFORT IN MISSOURI, RAQUEL MARTINEZ HELPED FORM A GROUP CALLED HISPANIC REPUBLICANS OF MISSOURI, INCORPORATED'THE GROUP ORGANIZED LAST YEAR AND HAS MORE THAN 50 MEMBERS.

MARTINEZ SAYS IT'S UNDERSTANDABLE THAT HISPANICS WOULD BE ATTRACTED TO THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.

AND MISSOURI DELEGATE ANTHONY RAMIEREZ, CHAIR OF HISPANIC REPUBLICANS OF MISSOURI, INCORPORATED GIVES THE REPUBLICAN PARTY HIGH MARKS OVERALL FOR REACHING OUT TO MINORITIES.

HE SAYS THAT'S EVIDENCED BY WHAT YOU SEE AT THE CONVENTION.

SOME OF THE MISSOURI DELEGATES SAY THE REPUBLICAN PARTY NEEDS TO CONTINUE TO COURT MINORITIES VOTERS IN ERNEST IF THEY EXPECT THESE VOTERS TO BELIEVE THE PARTY'S EFFORTS ARE SINCERE.