By Stacy M. Brown NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
No Labels, a nonprofit think tank that describes itself as a national movement of Democrats, Republicans, and independents working to solve the country’s most complex problems, has named Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. as its national co-chair.
The formal announcement occurred during a Zoom news conference on January 22. It included welcome messages from Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), and former Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, among others.
Recording star Deborah Cox opened the introductory news conference by performing a spirited song about No Labels, who created the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus and an allied Senate group that led passage of some of the most important legislation of recent years, including the CHIPS Act, a gun safety bill, and a rewrite of the Electoral Count Act in 2022.
Voiceovers were woven in of former U.S. Presidents from John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama.
The organization then played a tribute video that included Dr. Chavis’ family and his legendary career as a civil rights leader.
“As the new co-chair of No Labels, I’m proud to continue to be the president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association on the 196th anniversary of the Black Press of America,” Dr. Chavis stated.
“Working with former Sen. Joseph Lieberman and former Gov. Larry Hogan as co-chairs, I believe this will lift up the Black Press of America and elevate its visibility in the American mainstream politics, business, economics, and public policy that will affect the quality of life in the communities in which we serve.”
Dr. Chavis continued. “As a veteran of the civil rights movement, during the last six decades, I’ve learned a few things about the importance of people working together across lines of race, ethnicity, language, geography, and the things that divide us. I want to work on things that unite us as Americans. I believe No Labels offers that opportunity but also that responsibility to move forward.”
Lieberman, a former U.S. Senator from Connecticut, who changed parties in 2006 and is now an Independent, said No Labels is fortunate to have Dr. Chavis on board.
“Based on his history as a civil rights leader and the kind of person he is, I’m thrilled. Dr. Chavis has always been a bridge-builder and will bring civility, which is sorely needed in our government and our country,” Lieberman asserted.
Hogan, who served two terms as Maryland governor, also congratulated Dr. Chavis. “I’m thrilled to congratulate Dr. Chavis and welcome him to No Labels. I know Dr. Chavis will be a great addition to the leadership team of No Labels,” Hogan stated.
“He shares our commitment to bringing people together to achieve common sense solutions for all Americans. Having worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Dr. Chavis knows what it means to fight for freedom and respect for all Americans, and that’s exactly what No Labels stand for,” Hogan concluded.
Manchin, the conservative-leaning Democrat, said he got involved with No Labels more than 12 years ago because the organization works to unite America.
“We’re still working to unite this country,” Manchin declared. “What we’ve done in the last two years in a bipartisan way because of No Labels has been [major].
“So I’m thrilled to have the experience of Dr. Chavis and the wealth of knowledge he’s gained over the years that he’ll share with us to help make us a more perfect union.”
In welcoming Dr. Chavis, Collins, Maine’s longest-serving Senator, lent her voice. “As a highly respected civil rights leader, his service alongside Sen. Lieberman and Gov. Hogan will help move our organization and nation forward,” Collins insisted.
“Dr. Chavis has dedicated his life to championing equality and encouraging our nation to live up to its ideals. He believes in American unity, democracy, and opportunity for all.”
Dr. Chavis said his life’s work had taught him that if everyone works together, divisions can be overcome. “And when we overcome divisions, we make progress,” he insisted.
“I believe we need to restore bipartisanship in the American Congress. We need to restore bipartisanship at the state legislative level. “We need to restore bipartisanship at the local and municipal level. Americans today are worn out with all the divisions and looking for a way forward. No Labels offer that way forward.”