Haitian Immigrant's Son Kwame Raoul to replace Barack Obama

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Haitian Immigrant's Son Kwame Raoul to replace Barack Obama

Post by admin » Tue Dec 07, 2004 3:43 pm

Haitian Immigrant's Son Kwame Raoul to replace Barack Obama in Illinois Senate

HYDE PARK, ILLINOIS - While many Blacks around the world still "cheered" Barack Obama as the first African-American elected to the United States Senate in the 21st Century, and the fifth one in US history to serve in the nation's highest legislative body. Since last Saturday, Haitians in Illinois are very proud because the son of Haitian-born immigrants Marie Therese Raoul and late Janin Raoul, M.D., Kwame Raoul, was appointed by the Democrats to lead the 13th District as its new state Senator, filling the seat left vacant by Obama.

Kwame Raoul, a senior attorney for the City Colleges of Chicago, a lifelong resident of Hyde Park, was chosen by Democratic committeemen to replace Obama in the Illinois Senate. The announcement came from Ald.

ie Hairston (5th), who headed an 11-member committee to find a replacement from among seven candidates, including several progressive attorneys and a pro-choice pastor. The committee met in a McCormick Place conference room for several hours where they interviewed candidates individually on policy positions and their backgrounds.

Born in Chicago, Illinois on September 30, 1964, Kwame Raoul was the only candidate who had experience running for office, which may have been the deciding factor in his being chosen. He campaigned unsuccessfully in 1996 to unseat Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th), who was also on the selection committee.

As he accepted the 13th legislative district seat, Raoul seemed stunningly similar to the man he was replacing. Wearing a tailored dark suit and red tie, Raoul held his 4-year-old daughter, Mizan, who clutched her father much like Obama's daughters clung to him during his campaign.

Beside him, settling their fidgety 6-year-old son Che, stood Raoul's wife, K
ali Evans-Raoul, a professional-image consultant who admitted responsibility for shaping her husband's polished style.

Raoul will finish Obama's term, but will need to be elected in 2006 to keep the seat. Democrats were eager to appoint a successor for the General Assembly's fall veto session, which begins Monday. They are expected to push for more casinos, including one in Chicago, and ask for millions of
dollars to prevent cuts to CTA service.

During the interview sessions, Ald. Burton Natarus (42nd) quizzed each candidate on whether they would support a Chicago casino. Raoul refused to commit, saying he needed to study specific legislation.

U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) had concerns for the Lakeside district, which includes parts of the Gold Coast and the South Loop: "How do you feel about meeting with white folks?" Raoul laughed: "I've been meeting with white folks all my life."

Raoul was sworn in by state Supreme Court Judge Alan Freeman on the
He replaces Barack Obama at Illinois Senate District #13, who was elected to the U.S. Senate Nov. 2 and resigned his old post Thursday. Obama did not however consult with the committee or make a recommendation prior to appointment according to Hairston.
"I think Kwame Raoul is more than qualified and I think he's got that fire in his belly," Hairston said. "He has exposure and experience with constituent services. He has demonstrated for the past few years his commitment to his constituents."

Raoul's appointment held particular significance for him since it marked the first anniversary of his father's death. Dr. Janin Raoul was a well-known South Side doctor. "I feel his spirit is with me," Raoul said.
The announcement came as a surprise to some. Will Burns, who works as an advisor to state Senate President Emil Jones left hurriedly following the announcement but vowed to run against Raoul in the 2006 election.
"You have to trust the judgment of the committee men and
respect their decision," Burns said to reporters. "We live in America and there's going to be elections in 2006 and we'll see what happens then."

Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) said her colleagues were most impressed with Raoul because of his ward organizational work, an affiliation no other candidate had.

Raoul said he would immediately work on issues involving funding for public schools and the Chicago Transit Authority, which he said was "in a crisis situation."
"I look forward to rolling up my sleeves starting immediately and working with Senate President Emil Jones," said an emotional Raoul, 40, after a quick swearing-in ceremony at the Hyatt McCormick Place Conference Center.

This district has a strong history of independence," Raoul said. "I wouldn't be a rubber stamp."

Much of the information in this article was extracted from articles published on Chicago Sun-Times. com and HPHerald.com

Empress Verite

Kwame Raoul

Post by Empress Verite » Wed Dec 08, 2004 12:36 am

One and Respe!

I would like to also congratulate Mr. Raoul and the Democrats on this appointment. Mr. Raoul will be filling some tough shoes. Obama was an articulate and well prepared leader. I know that Mr. Raoul will do a good job because he seems to have the support network.

His personal life seems to also resemble that of Mr. Obama. Any information about where he went to law school and so forth? Mr. Obama attended Harvard Law after taking a degree from Stanford. His father, a Kenyan immigrant was an economist who studied at the University of Hawaii where Mr. Obama lived with his mother and sister until he left for college.

I appreciate Mr. Obama's presence and his sense of righteousness. Again, Illinois gives us a voice and presence in senate both at the local and federal level. Is this the new place for Haitian immigrants?

Thanks for posting this very pertinent information.


Leonel JB

Post by Leonel JB » Wed Dec 08, 2004 5:03 am

First, I have to congratulate Kwame Raoul. He is in a state which has a long Haitian trace: Jean-Baptiste Point du Sable.
People, we have a lot of important and smart people out there, we can do so much better with Self-Respect, Determination and Togetherness...

L'union fait la Force

I feel so good about this story. Great, Guy!


Empress Verite

the next place!

Post by Empress Verite » Thu Dec 09, 2004 2:51 am

One and Respe!

I literally mean "Is this the next (best) place/space for Haitians? So far as a geographical location, is Chicago District 13? where we Haitian Americans should be. I am well aware of the history of Haitians in Chicago with Jean Baptiste Point Dusable and I also have read the dissertation that documents the migration of Haitian immigrants from Haiti to chicago during the New Wave. However, it had gotten cool and Haitians began to migrate to other cities in larger numbers. I have met and socialized with many Haitians in Chicago and they all seem to do well in professional positions. I am waiting for an account similar to the ones found in the black financial papers that let black folks or African Americans know where to go. Recently, Texas was found to be the best place place for blacks and Atlanta was also in the top 10 cities. I have not seen a similar "study" or account done for Haitians? If you are aware of
one please let me know.

In so far as running for office is concerned, I have no such desire to do so at this time. My lifestyle and political beliefs are are in the serious margins and to the very left of the mainstream so I would not even qualifty. The things you suggest sound interesting. Perhaps you should contact some of the Haitian power brokers in my city who are already doing these things and encourage them to run. I hope that they can accomplish great things.!


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