Republican, Democratic Party Leaders at Convention

Party leaders to speak at special forum on politics

Milwaukee ? Ken Mehlman, chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC), and Howard Dean, chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), will serve as panelists at a special forum on politics and electoral involvement at the 96th Annual Convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Dean and Mehlman are expected to address issues of concern to African American communities across the nation, including education, health care, social security and the U.S. Supreme Court during an hour-long program from 9:30 a.m. ? 10:30 a.m., Thursday, July 14. The party leaders will each speak for about 20 minutes. They will not take questions from the audience. Both parties have campaigned to get a stronger percentage of the African American vote in coming elections.

Chairman Julian Bond said: "As an organization representative of various political opinions, we welcome representatives of the major political parties."

Dean, who received national prominence when he ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004, was elected as Chairman of the DNC earlier this year. He formerly served as governor of Vermont.

Mehlman has served as Chairman of the Republican National Committee since January 2005. Before he became chairman, Mehlman served as campaign manager for the Bush-Cheney team in 2004. He is a native of Baltimore.

The political forum with Mehlman and Dean will be followed by a panel discussion on the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act that expires in 2007. Panelists include Laughlin McDonald, Director, ACLU Voting Rights Project; Theodore Shaw, Director, NAACP Legal Defense Fund; Wade Henderson, Executive Director, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights; and Barbara Arnwine, Executive Director, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its half-million adult and youth members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

CONTACT: NAACP Office of Communications 410.580.5125

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