Rep. Kendrick Meek celebrates his victory
Throughout the nation's history, African Americans in the U.S. Senate have been few and far in-between. Will the next one be from the state of Florida?
By Yussuf J. SimmondsSentinel Managing Editor
In a sign of the Democratic Party's own relative calm this year, Florida's insider-vs-outsider contest turned out differently from what the pundits predicted--the so-called insider (incumbent) prevailed in the state's primary. Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek defeated millionaire newcomer Jeff Greene for the party's Senate nomination. "I made the case that I am the real Democrat in this race," Meek said. In addition, he will have at least one more vote in the election, come November: that of his primary opponent Greene, who said in his concession speech, "The contest I had for Kendrick Meek will be a big challenge, but I want you to know that I intend to support him every step of the way."
Meek thanked every Floridian who voted for him, as well as his opponents. He also graciously thanked Greene for his pending support throughout the rest of the campaign leading up to the general election. Greene's vowed to support Meek because he said that the other candidate, who left the Republican Party in April to run as independent candidates, will "turn back the clock on everything."
A strong supporter of President Barack Obama, Meek voted for tough, sweeping Wall Street reforms along with the President saying, "We've witnessed a small group of Wall Street insiders wreak immeasurable havoc on the backs of too many middle-class Floridians." Both President Obama and Senator Bill Nelson, Florida's other U.S. Senator have endorsed Meek, who looks forward to joining Nelson in the U.S. Senate next year.
In supporting the President's Wall Street agenda, Meek has voted in favor of holding the big banks accountable, modernizing the nation's financial regulatory system, and preventing future financial meltdowns that jeopardize the nation's economy, a repeat of the recent economic tragedy. It triggered the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act which represent the most sweeping and toughest set of financial regulatory reforms since the Great Depression. And as Meek further explained his total support, he said, "As I've said time and again, the big banks cannot and will not police themselves. It is time to stop turning a blind eye to the greed and recklessness of Wall Street and rein in these practices once and for all. This legislation is about siding with Floridians instead of the big banks, and I am proud to take the side of consumers over the powerful insiders," he concluded.
On the importance of the economic recovery and the impact it will have on job creation, Meek said, "Our nation is struggling to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression, and Florida has been particularly hard hit. In doing everything we can to help those who are out of work is not only the right thing to do, but also makes good economic sense. Unemployment benefits are the first line of defense for working families. I voted for the Recovery Act, which impacted more than 112,000 jobs for teachers, firemen, police officers, and others throughout Florida." And as a former Florida state trooper, Meek is keenly aware of the impact of the Recovery Act. He added, "I want you to know that creating jobs for Floridians is my top priority."
On a visit to the Los Angeles Sentinel, Meek discussed a myriad of issues including the nation's healthcare crisis, his campaign for the U.S. Senate, the Congressional Black Caucus, Education, Foreclosures, Un-employment and how the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are affecting the economy of the country. If elected, he would become the seventh African American to serve in U.S. Senate and in response to what he what do if elected, Meek replied that he would refine the healthcare reform that we have right now as a major first step in putting into place a structure for healthcare reform throughout the country.