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Edwards Addresses State Democratic Convention

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - Barely a day after leaving office, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was anything but off the hook among Texas Democrats at their state convention.

U.S. Representative Chet Edwards reveled in Delay's departure as the crowd cheered wildly.

And Senate contender Barbara Ann Radnofsky said her opponent, U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, hosted some "K Street Project" events.

That initiative, backed by Delay, pressured lobbying firms to hire Republicans and fund GOP causes.

DeLay faces money laundering charges in Texas, accused in a scheme to route corporate money through the Republican National
Committee to state GOP legislative candidates.

But some Democrats said highlighting what they call the GOP's ethics and policy failures isn't enough. Edwards said Democrats must do a better job of defining their own party and its values, because "too many of our fellow Texans have been falsely led to think we don't believe in God."

He also said Democrats must quickly "counterpunch" when opponents attack.

In other business, Democrats elected Graham attorney Boyd Richie to a four-year term as the state party chairman. He had held the post since April, when trial lawyer Charles Soechting stepped down after two years.

Earlier, Hispanic members of the Texas House of Representatives said they were united in opposing the Republicans' proposals for illegal immigrants. The group supports earned legalization that includes background checks and a requirement to learn English.

Democrats also hammered together a wide-ranging platform urging President Bush to withdraw troops from Iraq "in the most rapid manner possible" and supporting a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who qualify.

Expanding their existing party platform on immigration, foreign policy and other issues, Democrats urged Bush to take steps to provide Iraqis with the chance to control their internal affairs and to develop a plan to reconstruct Iraq's civil and economic infrastructures.

Earlier, those at the state Democratic convention meeting in Fort Worth rejected a resolution calling for Bush's impeachment.


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