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Church Leaders In D.C. Press Candidates To Help The Unemployed

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By Patrick Madden

Church leaders in the District are pressing the top candidates in the mayoral and city council chair races to commit more resources for those out of work.

The Asbury United Methodist church in northwest D.C. was packed last night with more than 800 members of the Washington Interfaith Network (WIN). The group is composed of church leaders and members from around the city.

Their goal, as Pastor Joseph Daniels of the Emory United Methodist Church explained, was to get the candidates to commit - on the record - to WIN's agenda.

"We want to know tonight...what are you going to do about jobs?" he asks.

Specifically, WIN wants the city to dedicate $10 million to $20 million each year to a program that hires out of work D.C. residents to weatherize homes. Other items on the agenda include more affordable housing and a ban on city business with banks that charge high interest rates.

All four candidates - Mayor Adrian Fenty and Vincent Gray in the mayor's race and Vincent Orange and Kwame Brown in the council chairs race - promised to implement WIN's agenda if elected.

WIN does not endorse candidates. But the group says it has contact with more than 15,000 voters and leaders promised to use their clout to get voters to the polls.

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