Obama Launches Anti-Poverty Crusade with 'Promise Zones'

Barack Obama, shifting the American public's focus away from Obamacare toward a debate on income inequality, is launching his Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program titled “Promise Zones,” which entails using government largess to give tax incentives and grants to cities deemed poverty-stricken. 

Twenty communities will eventually be the lucky winners; the first five recipients to be announced on Thursday are San Antonio, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, southeastern Kentucky, and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

The HUD website states: “Communities will compete in a transparent process, and be required to demonstrate the strength and effectiveness of their local commitment, to become Promise Zones;” but why were these particular communities chosen for the goodies? 

Four of the five have interesting connections.

One of the main priorities in the 2014 election for Democrats is unseating Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), so Southeastern Kentucky, where the voters are heavily GOP, is a target which may allow Democrats to make some inroads. 

San Antonio’s targeted district is the home of Democratic congressman Joaquin Castro, the twin brother of San Antonio mayor Julian Castro who is marked as a future star for the Party. That district, according to the Cook Partisan Voting Index, is only scoring a D+3, so Joaquin Castro could be in trouble.

Although Philadelphia is a Democratic stronghold, there are three suburbs nearby where GOP incumbents may be replaced by Democratic opponents: the Sixth and Eighth, which are both R+1, and the Seventh which is a toss up.

Oklahoma’s Second District is one of the five Promise Zones, and it includes the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Obama has been trying to reach out to the Choctaw nation for some time; Deborah Powell, Native American Development Specialist for the Housing Authority of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, was a guest in Michelle Obama’s box for Obama’s 2010 State of the Union Address.


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