Chairman of Friends of Ireland Makes Announcement on Historic Day
The Clinton Campaign today announced the endorsement of Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal.
"Hillary Clinton has the strength and the vision we need to turn this country around," Neal said. "Americans are ready for change, and Hillary has the experience to lead from her first day in the White House."
Congressman Neal announced his endorsement at an event in Washington, D.C. to celebrate a major milestone for peace in Northern Ireland. The endorsement coincides with the inauguration of a new Northern Ireland Assembly that will share power between Protestants and Catholics, fulfilling a major goal of the peace process that stalled more than four years ago. Senator Clinton and Congressman Neal, Chairman of the Friends of Ireland, have been active in helping to bring peace to Northern Ireland.
"Richard has been a tireless fighter for working families in Massachusetts and for peace in Northern Ireland. I'm honored to have his support," Clinton said.
Stella O'Leary, president of Irish American Democrats, served as the host of the event, and Brian O'Dwyer, chairman of the Council on American/Irish Relations, presented an award to Senator Clinton in honor of her commitment to issues important to the Irish-American community.
"Today's historic inauguration of the Northern Ireland Assembly serves as a model to the world in resolving differences and restoring lasting peace through power sharing and the promotion of common interests among diverse groups," Clinton said.
Senator Clinton has visited Ireland seven times as First Lady and as a Senator. During her most recent visit in 2004 she met with Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, delivered a keynote speech on peace and reconciliation in the modern world in Derry and visited the Clinton Peace Center in Enniskillen where she met with victims' families and women leaders of Vital Voices. During that same visit, Senator Clinton met with all of the political parties in Northern Ireland to discuss how to move the peace process forward and fully implement the Good Friday Agreement including meetings with Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain, as well as Catholic and Protestant leaders from Sinn Fein, the UUP, DUP, and SDLP.
Neal was first elected to Congress in 1988, and is co-chair of the New England Congressional Caucus and serves in the Democratic House leadership as an at-large whip. In Congress, he has led efforts to repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax, which penalizes many middle class taxpayers, and sponsored legislation to crackdown on companies that move offshore to avoid U.S. taxes.
Prior to serving in Congress, Neal was elected to the Springfield, Massachusetts, City Council in 1978 and served as President of the Council in 1979. He served as Mayor of the City of Springfield from 1984 until his election to Congress.