25 Most Influential African Americans In Politics
BET.com celebrates the top 25 Blacks in politics.
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Top Power Players - Check out our list of African American leaders making a difference in Politics.
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Valerie Bowman Jarrett - The Chicago lawyer, businesswoman, and civic leader. She is best known for her role as an advisor to President Barack Obama. Jarrett is a senior advisor for the Obama administration. Prior to that she served as a co-chairperson of the Obama-Biden Transition Project. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
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Reggie Love - He is the personal aide, or body man, to U.S. President Barack Obama. Love applied for an internship on Capitol Hill in 2006. He was interviewed by Robert Gibbs, Obama’s communications director, for a position in Obama's Senate office.He was hired with the title "deputy political director."As Obama's aide, he has to anticipate any and all of Obama's needs. As part of a tradition, Love and Obama played basketball every day there was a primary during the 2008 presidential election.
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Karen Bass - She is the speaker of the California State Assembly. She has represented the 47th district since she was first elected in 2004.In addition to her leadership of California African Americans for Obama and her post on Barack Obama's national African American Leadership Council, Bass has served as a California Co-chair of Obama's 2008 presidential campaign. Bass is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
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John Kenneth Blackwell - A former secretary of state for Ohio. He was the first African-American to be the candidate for governor of a major party [Republican Party]in Ohio. He is currently Vice Chairman of the Republican National Committee's Platform Committee and a candidate for chairman of the Republican National Committee. Blackwell is a member of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity.
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Roland Wallace Burris - He is the junior United States Senator for the state of Illinois. He is the only African-American serving in the Senate. A lifelong Democrat, Burris was appointed to the seat by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to replace Barack Obama, who had resigned following his election as President of the United States. Burris is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
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Adrian Malik Fenty - He is the sixth and current mayor of the District of Columbia, having begun his term of office on Jan. 2, 2007. Fenty is the youngest person ever to hold the office of District of Columbia Mayor, winning election at age 35 and entering office at 36. He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.
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Yvette Diane Clarke - A member of the United States House of Representatives from New York's 11th congressional district. She won the Democratic primary election on Sept. 12, 2006, defeating David Yassky, Carl Andrews and Chris Owens in the September Democratic primary. In this heavily Democratic district, Clarke won the general election with 89% of the vote and filled the seat vacated by retiring Representative Major Owens and once held by Shirley Chisholm
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John Conyers, Jr. - A member of the United States House of Representatives representing Michigan's 14th congressional district, which includes most of northwestern Detroit, as well as Highland Park, Hamtramck and part of Dearborn. In January 2007, Conyers became chairman of the House Judiciary Committee in the 110th United States Congress; he had been the committee's ranking Democrat since 1997.
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Desirée Glapion Rogers - On Nov. 23, 2008, Rogers was named by Barack Obama's office of presidential transition as the White House Social Secretary for the incoming administration, the first African American to serve in this function. Rogers joins the White House from Allstate Financial, where she was creating a social network of clients and consumers. She was previously the president of Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas.
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Leah D. Daughtry - She is the CEO of the 2008 Democratic National Convention Committee and chief of staff to Howard Dean, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. She was formerly Acting Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management at the United States Department of Labor.
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Harold Eugene Ford, Jr. - He is the current chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). He is a former member of the United States House of Representatives from Tennessee. He is a member of the Democratic Party and is part of the conservative Blue Dog Coalition.
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Alexis Margaret Herman - She now serves as the co-chairperson of the Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws Committee. She also now serves on the boards of several major companies, including Coca Cola Corporation's Human Resources Task Force, Toyota's Diversity Advisory Board, Cummins, Metro Goldwyn Mayer, and Prudential and is the chairman and CEO of New Ventures, Inc. Herman also served as the 23rd U.S. Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
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Lisa Perez Jackson - She is the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, becoming the first African American to hold this post. She was a member of Governor of New Jersey Jon S. Corzine's cabinet from 2006 to 2008, serving as Chief of Staff to the Governor and Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP).
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Anthony G. Brown - He was elected as Maryland’s Lieutenant Governor in 2006 on a ticket with Governor Martin O’Malley. As of November 2008, Brown is the highest-ranking elected official in the nation to have served a tour of duty in Iraq. Brown previously served two terms in the Maryland House of Delegates, representing Prince George's County. A 25-year veteran of the United States Army, he is currently a Colonel in the United States Army Reserve.
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Kendrick Brett Meek - He has been a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives since 2003, representing Florida's 17th congressional district, one of the most Democratic-leaning seats in the country. He is a member of the New Democrat Coalition. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on Nov. 5, 2002, succeeding his mother, Congresswoman Carrie Meek, who retired from the seat. Meek is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.
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Barack Hussein Obama II - He is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama was the junior United States Senator from Illinois from 2005 until he resigned following his 2008 election to the presidency. He was inaugurated as President on Jan. 20, 2009.
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David Alexander Paterson - He is the current Governor of New York. He is the first African American governor of New York and also the second legally blind governor of any U.S. state after Bob C. Riley, who was Governor of Arkansas for eleven days in January 1975.
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Deval Laurdine Patrick - He is the current Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the first African American to hold that office. Prior to being Governor, Patrick was a United States Assistant Attorney General under President Bill Clinton, and before that he worked as an attorney and businessman.
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Colin Luther Powell - He is a former four-star general in the United States Army. He was the 65th United States Secretary of State (2001-2005), serving under President George W. Bush. He was the first African American appointed to that position. He was the first, and so far the only, African American to serve on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He is a member of Sigma Pi Phi.