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Archive for the ‘Government and Politics’ Category

Obama Signs Bill Settling African-American Farmers’ and Native Americans’ Lawsuits

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Signing a law that he says closes a “long and unfortunate chapter” in the nation’s history, President Obama put his signature on the bill Wednesday to settle African-American farmers’ and Native Americans’ lawsuits against the federal government.

“This is one of those issues where you don’t always get political credit, but it’s just the right thing to do,” Obama said at the bill signing surrounded by multiple members of Congress in Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

The legislation authorizes $1.15 billion for black farmers who say they were discriminated against by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and is a bill that was introduced by then-Senator Obama. The legislation also authorizes a $3.4 billion settlement with American Indians who say the U.S. Interior Department mismanaged trust accounts for natural resource royalties.

“Now, after 14 years of litigation, it’s finally time to address the way that Native Americans were treated by their government. It’s finally time to make things right.”

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December 9, 2010 at 3:44 pm

For the Carroll family, competition in politics and sports

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By Michelle Kaufman, Miami Herald

It’s the summer of 1999 and 12-year-old Nolan Carroll II, a talented little soccer player and track star, is rollerblading around his Jacksonville neighborhood with a stack of political fliers, going door to door to campaign for his mother.

He is racing his younger sister, Nyckie, and brother, Necho, to see who delivers the most leaflets for Jennifer Carroll, who is running for the U.S. House.

It became a ritual in the Carroll household over the next 10 years. Mom runs for office, kids canvass neighborhoods, wave signs on street corners, smile and shake hands at rallies. They got good at it, and whenever they could make a contest of their political duties, they did.

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November 12, 2010 at 10:00 am

South Carolina’s Tim Scott among new faces bound for DC

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by James Rosen, McClatchy Newspapers

S.C. Rep. Tim Scott flew to Washington on Monday a week before most of his future House freshman colleagues as Republicans tapped him to help lead the largest class of new GOP lawmakers in decades.

Scott and three other pending first-term representatives were named to a 22-member transition team that will craft the rules by which the House will operate as of January under a restored Republican majority.

“Our assignment as a team is to transform the way we do business in Washington and make sure we keep the focus on jobs and the economy, and on cutting spending,” Scott told McClatchy from Charleston International Airport as he waited to fly to Washington.

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November 12, 2010 at 9:00 am

West GA town elects first black mayor

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By Curtis McCloud, WTVM

The number ‘304’ will forever be etched in 35-year-old Charles Gibson’s mind. It is the number of votes he received to be named the first African-American mayor of his home town of Lumpkin, GA.

“I really don’t think it’s totally set in yet. I have really been taking more feedback and feeling it more from the people,” said mayor-elect Charles Gibson.

People in Lumpkin say he’s the right man for the job.

“I believe this young man is going to be a mayor of all the citizens of Lumpkin and I think he’s going to do a good job,” said Lumpkin resident, Calvin Freeman.

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November 10, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Sewell brings history home

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by Rick Couch, Selma Times-Journal

A piece of history was again brought to Selma Tuesday night during Terri Sewell’s victory party at the St. James Hotel.

Sewell, who defeated Selma resident Don Chamberlain for the 7th Congressional District seat, also became the first black woman to represent Alabama in Washington.

Despite her historic victory, Sewell said the election was bigger than she.

“This win is not about me,” she said. “This win is for the 7th Congressional District. I am so honored and humble to have the opportunity to represent home.”

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November 10, 2010 at 9:34 am

A ‘female Obama’ seeks California attorney general post

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By Michael Martinez, CNN

She’s been called “the female Obama” by some media, and the president even paid her a visit this week to help her political fortunes. Like Barack Obama, she aspires to a lot of firsts.

Kamala Harris is the daughter of a father from Jamaica and a mother from India, and she’s seeking to be the first black woman attorney general of California.

If elected, Harris would be “the first female, the first African-American, the first Asian-American attorney general in California and the first South Asian-American attorney general in the nation,” according to her campaign literature.

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October 28, 2010 at 8:04 pm

Rick Scott picks lawmaker Jennifer Carroll as running mate

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by Steve Bousquet, Miami Herald

It’s official.

GOP gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott on Thursday morning announced that state Rep. Jennifer Carroll of Jacksonville will be his running mate as lieutenant governor.

“I am honored that Jennifer is the first African-American Republican woman to be part of a statewide ticket in Florida,” Scott said.

“Jennifer Carroll is the embodiment of the American dream. She came to America as a young girl, decided to serve her country with the United States Navy, pursued a higher education, started a small business, and then was elected the first African-American female Republican in the Florida Legislature,” said Scott, who launched a new website featuring his new running mate ( Read the rest of this entry »

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September 4, 2010 at 7:49 am

Rising Star Terri Sewell Named As Woman to Watch in Politics

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By Bridgette Outten,

Terri Sewell, who is running to be the first black woman to represent Alabama in the U.S. House of Representatives, was recently named as one of the “Next 10 Women to Watch in Politics.”

Voters will decide today if Sewell will be on the Democratic ticket for the seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Artur Davis.

But, “no matter what happens,” Politics Daily declared, “Sewell has already built a record of success that would have most high achievers calling it a day.

“The Harvard-trained lawyer was the first black valedictorian at her high school in historic Selma, Ala.  From there, Sewell went on to Princeton, where she was named one of Glamour Magazine’s College Women of the Year, then Harvard Law School and Oxford University in England. She worked as a corporate lawyer in both New York and Alabama, where she also worked pro-bono cases for school districts looking to raise money.”

Sewell’s opponent, Shelia Smoot, is also a black woman, so history will be made either way, the Flint Journal reported.

Written by Symphony

July 13, 2010 at 1:20 pm

Race in 7th Congressional District could eventually send first black woman from Alabama to Capitol Hill

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By Thomas Spencer, Birmingham News

Arguably one of the most consequential races on Tuesday’s ballot is the Democratic run-off between lawyer Terri Sewell and Shelia Smoot, the Jefferson County commissioner who is giving up her seat for a shot at representing Alabama’s 7th District in the U.S. Congress.

Though Republicans Don Chamberlain and Chris Salter also face off Tuesday for a shot at the seat, the winner of the Democratic contest will more than likely win November’s general election and become Alabama’s first black congresswoman. The district is overwhelmingly Democratic: 84 percent of the voters in the district, which covers sections of Birmingham, Bessemer and Tuscaloosa along with most of the counties of Alabama’s Black Belt, selected the Democratic ballot in the June primary.

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July 13, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Essex County lawmaker Sheila Oliver positioned to become next Assembly Speaker

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Source: Newark Star-Ledger

sheila-oliverNewark native Sheila Oliver grew up among a family of labor leaders and civil rights activists — including a grandmother who organized a union at the Jersey City cigarette factory where she had worked in the 1930s.

On her block lived Rep. Donald Payne (D-10th Dist.), then an Essex County freeholder and president of the neighborhood watch group, and he became one of her earliest mentors.

So when the offer was dangled in front of Oliver to compete for the Assembly speaker’s post, the three-term Democratic legislator said she jumped at it, hungry for the chance to ascend the political ladder.

“My years in the Legislature have taught me if you want to be a catalyst for change, you have to be in the driver seat,” said Oliver, 57, an East Orange resident and assistant Essex County administrator. “I said if an opportunity existed I would be interested, no question.”

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October 1, 2009 at 8:48 am

Lumberton gets first African-American female mayor

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The new mayor of Lumberton says her administration will be transparent and more accountable to the citizens of that Lamar County town.

Mayor Miriam Holder was sworn-in to office Friday night by Circuit Judge Prentiss Harrell.

Holder defeated Mayor Larry Strahan and challenger Albert Young in last month’s election.

Holder is the first African-American woman to hold the top job in Lumberton. She says residents will see a positive change in city government.

“They can expect Lumberton to definitely move forward. We are going to complete projects that we have not completed and we are going to bring in everything that we can that will benefit the citizens of Lumberton,” Mayor Holder said.

Four new aldermen and one incumbent alderman were also sworn-in Friday night. Their first board meeting will be next Tuesday.

Written by Symphony

July 7, 2009 at 9:17 am

Young Becomes Philadelphia MS First Black Mayor

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by Jim Prince and Debbie Myers, The Neshoba Democrat

James A. Young defeated incumbent Mayor Rayburn Waddell, 1,021-975, certified results from Tuesday’s Democrat primary runoff election show.

Forty-four affidavit ballots were examined by the Democrat Executive Committee Wednesday starting at about 5 p.m., and only 15 were accepted.

Young, a former four-term county supervisor, Pentecostal minister and paramedic who led the county ambulance service for nearly two decades, unseated Waddell to become Philadelphia’s first African-American mayor Tuesday with 51.15 percent of the vote. Read the rest of this entry »

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May 23, 2009 at 6:08 pm

Freeport elects first African-American mayor

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by Laura Rivera, Newsday

Freeport residents made history last month when they elected their first African-American mayor, Andrew Hardwick, a Democrat whose slate unseated the team of three-term incumbent Republican Mayor Bill Glacken.

Five days before his Monday swearing-in ceremony, mayor-elect Hardwick was still pinching himself. “I stopped slapping myself. My hands are too big. It hurts,” he joked. Read the rest of this entry »

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April 5, 2009 at 7:10 am

Sisterhood of Powerful Black Women in Washington Politics Comes to the Fore

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Krissah Thompson, Washington Post

monasutphenLike two old girlfriends catching up, they ignored onlookers, hugged and laughed.

Donna Brazile, the political strategist and Washington veteran, peppered Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson with questions.

“How are the kids?” “Have you contacted the church? I don’t go every Sunday but they know me.” Read the rest of this entry »

Historians highlight first black legislative caucus

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by Markeshia Ricks, Montgomery Advertiser

alabamalegislationEach year during the month of February, Americans get a crash course in black history that usually starts with slavery and makes a beeline to the civil rights struggles of the 1950s and 1960s — with very little in-between.

But Martha O’Rourke-Arrow is making it her mission to change that, particularly when it comes to the Alabama Legislature, and she might find some interesting allies in the state’s existing Legislative Black Caucus and Republican Party.

O’Rourke-Arrow is the great-great granddaughter of Shandy Wesley Jones, a black man from Tuscaloosa, who served in the Alabama Legislature during Reconstruction. Read the rest of this entry »

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February 28, 2009 at 7:56 am

Activist determined to bring kids to Obama inauguration

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By Beth Reinhard, Miami Herald

Democratic ConventionPresident-elect Barack Obama‘s inaugural committee trumpets that it is committed to “making this the most open and accessible inauguration in history.”

Tell that to Eufaula Frazier, an 84-year-old community activist in Liberty City, who has struggled for weeks to organize a bus trip to Washington for a group of underprivileged kids from Liberty City, Carol City and Miami Gardens.

Frazier has been to every Democratic national convention since 1972 and every Democratic inauguration since 1977. She’s not about to miss this one. And she insists that she won’t go to Washington without making sure at least one child gets to see history in the making. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Symphony

January 11, 2009 at 10:38 am

Austin College Alum Appointed to Key Obama Cabinet Post

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ronkirkAustin College alumnus Ron Kirk has been selected by president-elect Barack Obama to serve as the United State Trade Representative. This cabinet-level appointment is the first to be held by a graduate of Austin College.

“Austin College is proud of Ron’s success in Texas, and I am sure he will be equally successful as he works with world leaders,” said Oscar C. Page, president of Austin College. “Ron’s leadership at the state and local level is impressive, and these experiences have prepared him well to serve as the U.S. Trade Representative for the new administration.”

Kirk’s appointment was announced by Obama today at a press conference held in Chicago. “As mayor of Dallas, Ron helped steer one of the world’s largest economies,” said Obama. “During his tenure as mayor, Ron brought different groups together to create jobs, invest in the community, and spur economic growth.”  In accepting his nomination, Kirk insisted that “trade can help us create jobs at home and encourage development abroad.” Read the rest of this entry »

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December 30, 2008 at 8:54 am

Obama chooses his poet

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by Marjorie Kehe, Christian Science Monitor

elizabethalexander4There was no poet at the inaugurations of George W. Bush but Barack Obama is returning to the tradition started by John F. Kennedy who famously asked Robert Frost to share the stage with him in January of 1961. Obama’s choice for inaugural poet: Elizabeth Alexander.

Alexander may not be a household name but in the world of poetry her credentials shine bright. Today many in the literary world are reacting positively to Obama’s choice.

Alexander, who was born in Harlem in 1965, teaches at Yale. She has published four volumes of poetry, including “American Sublime” which was shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize in poetry in 2006. She is also the author of two collections of essays. Last year, she won the $50,000 Jackson Poetry Prize. Read the rest of this entry »

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December 30, 2008 at 8:48 am


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by Christopher Arps, Oklahoma City Conservative Examiner

In the past, whenever I met a fellow African American Republican or conservative, it was always a bitter sweet moment for me. On the one hand, I was elated to meet another African American who shared my cultural values and view of the role of government in our lives, but the elation subsided rather quickly when the realization set in that there wasn’t an efficient mechanism to connect them with my conservative African American friends from around the country, or vice versa. There are millions of us out here! John McCain only received 2% of the African American vote, but how many millions of African Americans does that translate too? That was the initial purpose of organizing the social network; to have a centralized meeting place for us to network, share ideas, and let the closet Republicans and conservatives among us know that they are not alone. Read the rest of this entry »

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December 29, 2008 at 8:02 am

Local delegate picked as chair of Legislative Black Caucus

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by Julian Walker, Virginian-Pilot

Del. Kenny Alexander, D-Norfolk, was selected by his peers to be chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, a coalition of African American state legislators.

At 42, Alexander believes he is the youngest chairman in caucus history, and “probably the first born in the 1960s.”

“Most of the past chairs were active in the Civil Rights movement,” said Alexander, who has been a House member since 2002 and is the proprietor of the Metropolitan Funeral Service in Norfolk. “I’m actually a beneficiary of that era.”

Alexander said he will continue to push for the restoration of voting rights of convicts in Virginia. The issue has long been a concern of the caucus. Virginia is one of only a few states with laws that make it difficult for individuals to regain voter rights after their sentences have been completed.

Alexander said he also wants to focus on gang prevention, providing greater access to health care and improving public education.

The 14 African American lawmakers in the General Assembly make up one-tenth of the 140 seats in the state legislature.

Written by Symphony

December 16, 2008 at 7:52 am

Ms. Jarrett Goes To Washington

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by Lynn Sweet, DailyBeast

Obama's TeamWhat makes Valerie Jarrett unusual in the Obama world is that she is a friend and confidant of both Michelle and Barack.

In 2007 I invited Valerie Jarrett to the spring Gridiron Dinner in Washington. I knew her from Chicago politics and it seemed clear that she was destined to play a big role on Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. I worried—good hostess that I am—that she might be at loose ends before the dinner. But when I checked in with her, she said not to fret, she was hanging out with a cousin.

The cousin turned out to be Ann Jordan, wife of Vernon Jordan, the civil rights leader, powerhouse lawyer, Democratic activist, and Iraq Study Group member, who served as chairman of the Clinton presidential transition team in 1992. Ann Dibble Jordan is a former Chicagoan with deep ties to the University of Chicago, where she is a trustee emeritus.

Like the Jordans, Jarrett is one of those people, back home in Chicago, linked to everyone important. She is part of an elite civic, social, business and political crowd whose lives criss-cross and often intersect at the University of Chicago, where Obama taught law between 1992 and his Senate election in 2004. Read the rest of this entry »

Susan Rice’s task as U.N. ambassador to mend fences

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by David Jackson, USA Today

ricesusanSusan Rice’s newest foreign policy task is to help mend the rocky diplomatic marriage between the United States and the United Nations.

President-elect Barack Obama’s choice as U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Rice has spent her career studying how to prevent violence by alleviating poverty, curing disease and addressing climate change.

“All of these goals are vital to America’s security, but none can be accomplished by America alone,” Rice said after being nominated Monday. She must be confirmed by the Senate. Read the rest of this entry »

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December 2, 2008 at 3:32 am

Desiree Rogers named Obamas’ White House social secretary

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by Julie Bosman, New York Times

rogersdesireeMaybe it won’t be Andrew Jackson’s inaugural celebration, when happy throngs of guests in muddy boots crowded the Executive Mansion, lured away only when the whiskey was moved to the White House lawn.

But to hear the newly appointed White House social secretary tell it, the Obama White House might have an awfully egalitarian touch.

“Wonderful picnics outside, tree decorating, inviting military families over,” Desirée Rogers, the White House social-secretary-in-waiting, said Monday in a telephone interview. “One of the things that is particularly important for this administration is that we continue along this vein of making it everyone’s America. We are inviting all of America and all of the world to share in that splendor.” Read the rest of this entry »

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December 1, 2008 at 7:41 am

He dared to dream long before Obama

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by J. Scott Orr, Star-Ledger

donald_payne_medIt was a chilly November day in Newark and Donald Payne was reflecting on dreams, both his and those of black America.

“Nothing is as powerful as a dream whose time has come,” Payne said of a political victory that had taken longer than many expected, but nonetheless signaled a breakthrough for African-Americans and their representation in Washington.

“Sometimes a political leader is marching a little in front or a little behind the people, but once in a while the marcher and the drumbeat are in exactly the same cadence, and then, finally, good things happen,” he said.

Coming as it did, on Nov. 9, 1988, Payne’s statement had nothing to with President-elect Barack Obama and his history-making ascent to the White House. Still, 20 years later, the Newark Democrat’s thoughts are as valid and reasoned as they were on that day in 1988, the day after Payne was elected to Congress as New Jersey’s first African-American House member. Read the rest of this entry »

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November 30, 2008 at 9:38 am

Inspired by Obama, Generation Xers say they’re ready to lead

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by Renee Michelle Harris, South Florida Times

The contrasts became apparent way before the election. When civil rights hero and former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young questioned Barack Obama’s blackness with a crude joke comparing the senator’s association with black women to President Bill Clinton’s, a large segment of blacks did not find it funny.

When Jesse Jackson was caught on camera in a candid moment vulgarly criticizing Obama’s message to blacks about personal responsibility, many were outraged, including Jackson’s own son and namesake, Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.

The public behavior of two respected leaders from the 1960s – and the reaction of some of their younger counterparts – provided perhaps the best examples of the stark differences between civil rights-era black leaders and those from Generation X, a group that a Time magazine article described as “an unsung generation born between 1965 and 1980.” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Symphony

November 29, 2008 at 7:53 am


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