Thursday, December 27, 2012

Where are the new generation of Black political leaders?

This article was written last month in the Sun-Times and in the wake of the resignation of Congressman Jackson from his seat. This may well be a continuing question not just on the federal level but locally as well even though there are plenty of young people locally who are poised to be the fresh faces of Black leadership in this state:
As federal investigators dug into his conduct, Jackson resigned from Congress on Wednesday. The end of his once-promising career left Chicago’s black political scene with a void: Who can claim not only the fallen reformer’s spot in Washington, but also become the avatar for a new generation and style of African-American leadership here?

Jackson’s demise means virtually all of the highest-ranking black politicians are senior citizens. The 48-year-old Jackson was one of three black congressmen in the Illinois delegation, but by far the youngest: Danny Davis is 71 and Bobby Rush is 66.

The most powerful African-American in local government, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, is 65, while Secretary of State Jesse White — the only black state-wide office holder — is 78.

The younger Jackson’s resignation, combined with the aging of many other African-American elected officials, is hastening the search for fresh faces who might restore or even enhance the community’s clout. Younger African-American leaders in lower-level positions said they believe a new generation is ready to come of age.

“I think you’ll see something new,” said Kwame Raoul, 48, who replaced Barack Obama in the Illinois Senate after Obama became a U.S. senator eight years ago. “You will begin to see, as a result of the rapid rise of Obama, more and more African-American candidates who have crossover appeal and come from different professional backgrounds than we’ve historically seen.”
Please read the whole thing, but you may need to register with the Sun-Times to see the whole article.

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