TheGrio’s 100: Cedric Richmond, keeping Washington’s eye on Louisiana

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Last November, Cedric Richmond was elected with 64 percent of the vote from his Louisiana district, reclaiming the House seat he lost in 2008. As the sole candidate President Barack Obama endorsed with a television commercial in that election, Richmond serves as a direct line to the White House for Louisiana, a connection that he will continue to call upon to rebuild his state, still struggling from damage and displacement more than five years after Hurricane Katrina.

A Louisiana State representative for his district from 2000 to 2008, Richmond has been in politics since his 27th birthday, making him one of the youngest legislators in the state’s history. Cedric has already co-sponsored legislation the short time he’s been in office, a bill designed to provide for restoration of Gulf of Mexico coastal areas affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Cedric Richmond is making history … keeping Washington’s eye on Louisiana, which still suffers in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Displacement is still a major concern for Richmond, who is lobbying to provide a path back home for the tens of thousands of former New Orleans residents — in August, NPR reported New Orleans’ population wavering above 300,000, compared to pre-Katrina numbers of just under 500,000. Richmond also aims to address the mortgage crisis, which affected many from his state who had to struggle to save their homes from the disaster, only to lose them to a bank.

What’s next for Cedric?

In 2011, Rep. Richmond is trying to use the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in his home state to offset some economic problems. The EITC reduces and sometimes eliminates taxes paid by low-income people, like payroll taxes.

In his own words …

Asked where he sees himself in five years, Richmond said, “As the senior Democratic congressman from Louisiana who has earned a reputation as a skilled lawmaker that delivers for Louisiana.”

A little-known fact …

In 1868, Louisiana elected John Willis Menard to U.S. House of Representatives. He was the first African-American elected to the House, but an election challenge from his opponent, Caleb Hunt, barred Menard from taking his seat.

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