TheGrio's 100: Terri Sewell, freshman congresswoman fighting for Alabaman green jobs

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Running on a campaign platform of job creation and economic development, finance attorney Terri Sewell struck a chord with her home state of Alabama, where some counties are wavering at 10 to 25 percent unemployment. In November, Alabama elected her to be the first black woman to represent the state in Congress. This January, she began work to bring issues that matter most to Alabamian women and minorities to Washington. First on Sewell’s list is to expand the number of jobs in her state.

Terri Sewell is making history … moving from rural Alabama to Harvard, then to Wall Street and back, all in the service of her home state. With her experience as a finance attorney, the congresswoman is honing in on small business investment, infrastructure and workforce training. Sewell also advocates for the conversion of timber, Alabama’s natural resource, into biofuel to benefit the environment and create “green” jobs in her state.

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Beyond economic concerns, the congresswoman also takes a stand for women’s issues. In 2006, she raised $70,000 in four months to fight domestic violence in Birmingham with the Women’s Fund “Voices Against Violence,” which she co-chairs.

What’s next for Sewell?

Outnumbered nearly 10 to one, Sewell and other freshmen Democrats have their work cut out for them. Congresswoman Sewell aims to make a bi-partisan effort to best serve her state and country while she pushes for innovative education reform, petitioning Teach for America to select Alabama’s Black Belt region as a new site.

In her own words …

“It’s going to be challenging, no doubt, but my vision remains the same. I am proud to be a Democrat, and I look forward to being a partner with President Obama,” Sewell said.

A little-known fact …

In 1869, Hiram Rhodes Revels Rhodes Revels became the first African-American elected to Congress. A total of 123 African Americans have served in the U.S. Congress, with six having served in the U.S. Senate.

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