Politics

Alabama’s First Elected Black Republican Declares GOP ‘Open To Everyone’

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The first Black Republican elected to the Alabama Legislature since Reconstruction said Wednesday that his election to represent a heavily white suburban district shows that the GOP “is open to everyone.”

Retired Army Sgt. Kenneth Paschal was elected Tuesday to fill a legislative seat in suburban Shelby County, becoming the only Black Republican in the Alabama Legislature. Paschal invoked Martin Luther King Jr.’s words about people being judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin, as he participated in a ceremonial swearing-in ceremony to celebrate his win.

“I truly believe that the Lord has called me to serve,” Paschal said Tuesday, adding that “God and country” are his two guiding principles.

Standing by a bank of U. S. flags, Paschal was sworn in with his hand upon a Bible held by his mom. A mostly white crowd of about 150 cheered and gave a standing ovation when he was introduced as the first Black Republican elected to the House since Reconstruction.

Mother Betty Paschal of rural Eclectic in central Alabama said she never thought she‘d see the day her son was elected to the Legislature.

“I am just amazed,” she said. “I am so proud of Kenneth.”

Paschal, 54, won the special general election to fill House District 73. The Shelby County district stretches through the suburbs south of Birmingham. He won the GOP nomination for the seat earlier this year by just a few dozen votes, but easily defeated the Democratic nominee in the heavily Republican district.

The special election had only a few thousand votes cast, a fraction of the number that would be cast in a regular election year.

Even though Paschal is the first Black Republica… (Read more)

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