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Rep. Kenneth Paschal, R-Pelham, speaks to attendees at an event of the ALGOP Outreach Coalition about being the first African American elected as a Republican tot eh Alabama Legislature since Reconstruction.

Party politics

ALGOP Outreach Coalition seeks to build bridges to minority voters

Among other speakers, Rep. Kenneth Paschal, R-Pelham, spoke about being the first African American elected as a Republican since Reconstruction.

The ALGOP Outreach Coalition held a meet and greet in Montgomery Thursday evening as it seeks to bring minority voters into the Republican fold.

“One thing about the Republican Party, we need to build more relationships,” said Cedric Coley, Central Alabama regional director for the ALGOP Outreach Coalition. “It’s about branching out, it’s about going to other communities. And that’s one of the missions of this task force, to identify communities and figure out what we can do as a party … to work shoulder to shoulder with. We don’t want to stand in front of you, we don’t want you to stand behind us; we want to walk shoulder to shoulder with you and hold the line for liberty.”

Rep. Kenneth Pascal, R-Pelham, talked to the crowd about being the first and only African American elected to the Alabama Legislature as a Republican since Reconstruction.

“We made Dr. King’s dream come true,” Paschal said. “In 1963, Dr. King said ‘I look to the day where people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but the content of their character.’ … And the vision is if we say we are a party for all, we have to do our part to make sure we are a party of all people.”

The crowd of about 50 people was mixed between White, Black and Latino people, including a few people wearing shirts with the “Lexit” logo, a movement for Latinos to exit the Democrat party.

Rep. Charlotte Meadows currently represents District 74, which covers the midtown area of Montgomery where the event was held. Meadows notably had her district redrawn in a way that is expected to shift the majority vote to Democrats.

Meadows told attendees that she would carry a bill to eliminate the grocery tax if reelected and that, because she is a Republican, she believes she could bring it to pass where Democrats have failed.

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“Groceries, you know your bread, your milk, cheese, butter, vegetables — those should not be taxable items,” Meadows said. “In this day when our state has as much cash flowing through it as extra as we do, that’s something we should be able to get done next year … In politics, it matters what party you’re in, because you get attention from your party if you’re in the winning party.”

Meadows also emphasized her desire to direct assistance to women in crisis pregnancies and remove barriers to adoption. She also told attendees about her belief in school choice, noting that she is the cofounder of LEAD Academy in Montgomery.

Other speakers included Montgomery County Republican Party Chairman Greg Poole and Outreach Coalition Co-Director Belinda Thomas, the first female African-American city councilwoman in Newton.

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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