Black Farmers Pleased With Clinton Meeting
Session with president brings promise to help end loan discrimination
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Dec. 18) -- The head of the National Black Farmers Association says a marathon meeting with President Bill Clinton was "very positive." John Boyd says the farmers who attended got a commitment that the president would do everything he could to speed up the resolution of discrimination claims that are pending against the Agriculture Department.
The farmers met with Clinton, Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman and members of Congress for more than two and a half hours at the White House Wednesday evening. The farmers have been arguing for some time that their complaints about discrimination in loans and farm credits have not been heard and the process of resolving them has been unnecessarily delayed.
Following the meeting, Glickman said the president wanted to see the process move along faster. Sen. Chuck Robb (D-Va.), who also attended, said the president promised to do everything in his legal power and authority to make sure the job gets done. Rep. Eva Clayton (D-N.C.) said Clinton showed a willingness not only to listen but to act.
Many of those who attended the meeting called it "unprecedented" for a president to sit down with minority farmers. Others said the discussion was very frank and touched on discrimination in general as well as the specific problems the farmers face.
Earlier Wednesday, Glickman announced the creation of the post of assistant general counsel for civil rights to deal with discrimination issues within the Agriculture Department.
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