Rep. Gregory Meeks Becomes The First Black Foreign Affairs Chairman

Black politicians continue to make history and it's not even February. This week. Rep. Gregory Meeks was elected the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. As the third ranking member of the committee, Meeks beat out Rep. Joaquin Castro by a vote of 148-78. With his victory, he becomes the first Black man to hold this position. In this role, he will run the committee that oversees the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development.

Supporters of Meeks have praised his long tenure on the committee, his relationships with Democratic and Republican members and membership of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. In a recent interview, he said his focus as chairman would be to rebuild the State Department and strengthen trans-Atlantic alliances.

"We’ve got a lot of allies that we’ve got to make sure that they know that we’re back at the table again," he said.

"I think we do need to look at what took place within the State Department so that we can make sure that it doesn’t ever happen again...The State Department is at its lowest in morale in all of the 22 years that I’ve been in congress. As I talk to diplomats, career diplomats, it is unbelievable from what they tell me as to the low morale and what has taken place there."

Colleagues of the chairman were quick to congratulate Meeks on his historic feat. Rep. Ted Deutch said that he was "thrilled" for Meeks.

“I am proud to join Rep. Meeks as he works to restore American global leadership & smart, strong, diplomacy," Deutch tweeted.

Rep. Gregory Meeks is currently serving his 23rd year in Congress. His next term is set to begin on January 3, 2021.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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