GOP leader woos blacks at Urban League meeting

By , Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

The doors are open for black people and Republicans to exchange ideas, says Senate majority leader Robert Dole (R). ``We Republicans plan to become the majority party, and we can't afford to write off the black vote,'' Senator Dole of Kansas told the National Urban League convention Monday.

``We want more black access to the administration,'' Urban League president John E. Jacob told the keynote session of the convention Sunday.

Dole met privately last week with several black leaders. ``I gained much knowledge from these meetings,'' he said in an interview. ``Another meeting will probably be scheduled in September, when Congress returns to Capitol Hill.''

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Other GOP leaders as well as black leaders will participate in the next meeting, Dole added.

Dole quipped throughout his half-hour speech to the league, getting laughs and applause from the audience. The league did not display the open hostility to him that Republican speakers received at last month's convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Dallas.

``Many blacks say Republicans have turned their backs on them,'' Dole said. ``I assure you very few Republicans take pride in the lack of party votes from black people.

``I want to see more black delegates at the Republican convention. I helped organize the Black Council of the National Republican Committee in 1971. We're still trying to figure out how to make it work. We cannot become the majority party without black support.''

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