As the awful, terrible, and very bad political news of 2017 comes to a close, we have a few shining Black politicians to look forward to in 2018.
Some of these people are new to the national spotlight while some are old hands at it.
Either way, here are five Black politicians to look for in 2018. Their actions will make national news.
Keisha Lance Bottoms
Keisha Lance Bottoms is the second Black woman to be elected mayor of Atlanta.
The contentious race was so close that her opponent has demanded a recount. In the meantime, Bottoms who is a former Atlanta City Councilperson, is pressing forward with her mayoral administration’s agenda. In a press conference, Bottoms stressed that one of her first priorities is beefing up the police force from 1800 to 2500 officers and integrating the force with more updated technology.
Growing the police department is an interesting priority for a metro area with the nation’s third highest eviction rate and an impossible to ignore income inequality gap that falls along racial lines. Because Atlanta is a well-known and studied national and international destination (it houses the world’s busiest airport), Mayor-Elect Bottoms’ leadership on these important issues could have ripple effects on urban policy in other metropolitan areas.
Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) is no stranger to political theater. Remember when he ran into a burning house and threw a woman over his shoulder to save her? How about when the then-Newark mayor chased down a suspect who was running from police near City Hall?
Known for his robust social media presence, Booker has kept up his real-world activism too since he’s been in the Senate. He’s also been a vocal critic of Trump, he even called on the 45th president to resign over numerous sexual misconduct allegations. Still mostly beloved by his core, Senator Booker has faced increasing criticism about his Wall Street ties and questions about some of those “super hero” moments.
Though the Senator demurs when asked about a 2020 presidential run, it’s no secret that that he has his eye on the White House. He will be executing political strategies very carefully in 2018 as he grooms himself to be the Democratic party’s 2020 nominee. His actions will be his way of showing his priorities as president. Take note.
A Black woman president? Well, well. There have been whispers about it for Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA). She is the second Black woman to ever hold a U.S. Senate seat. Senator Carol Moseley Braun (D-IL) was the first.
Senator Harris went viral when asking then-aspiring Attorney General Jeff Sessions (aka Foghorn Leghorn in human form) pressing questions about his fitness for the job. Like Senator Booker, critics have questions about her corporate affiliations. Yet, she is also a name often mentioned for 2020 presidential contention.
The first openly Black trans woman elected to public office in the U.S. is Minneapolis City Councilmember Andrea Jenkins. In an interview with Broadly, Jenkins stressed the importance of race equity issues which “translates into a broad range of topics, from affordable housing, police accountability, public safety, and environmental justice.
We’re going to be talking about how we can support small businesses and really focus attention on women- and people of color-owned businesses and other groups of marginalized communities. So that’s the plan and that hasn’t changed very much.” The U.S. as a whole knows virtually nothing about Black transgender women. Jenkins’ role will be critical in establishing what it means to govern while treated as an “other” by a large portion of society.
In the fall of 2016, then-21-year-old Jewell Jones made history as the youngest member of Michigan’s legislature. He was sworn in as a state representative.
He had previously gained attention as a then-20-year-old City Council Member for his hometown of Inkster. The University of Michigan Dearborn alum is proving that young office holders of today are into more than mumble rap and IG posts (not to say he’s not into that). His voting record thus far pretty much falls along party lines.
Time will tell if this young man has it in him to shoot for the moon or at least the stars.