Ferguson Activist Cori Bush Elected As First Black Congresswoman From Missouri
Bush, an HBCU alumna, went to the polls on Tuesday wearing a face mask bearing Breonna Taylor's name.
August 05, 2020 at 1:23 pm
Update (November 3, 2020): After winning in Missouri’s primary election back in August, Cori Bush will now be headed to Congress reports ABC News.
The First. pic.twitter.com/h3o0GxeFLR
— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) November 4, 2020
Bush, who went to the polls to vote on Tuesday wearing a face mask bearing Breonna Taylor's name, will be the first Black congresswoman from Missouri, The St. Louis American reported.
“I am humbled and honored to be a part of this day, but to also be on this historical ballot as the Democratic nominee for the first district here in Missouri — poised to be the first Black congresswoman from the state of Missouri, the first woman from this district ever, the first Missouri nurse, and the first activist fighting for Black lives going to Congress,” she told reporters, according to The St. Louis American.
While Bush was aware of her anticipated victory, she said this is just the beginning.
“Forget having big names, and big donors and big titles, it’s about regular people taking care of regular people," she continued. "This is our moment. So that’s what we are doing today.”
Bush beat 10-term incumbent U.S. Representative William Lacy Clay in the primary District 1 Missouri State House race.
Clay was elected to Congress in 2000 after his father Bill Clay retired after 32 years, Refinery 29 reports.
The registered nurse and single mother became inspired to seek out her role in politics after the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson in 2014. The newly-elected congresswoman previously lost her campaigns for U.S. Senate in Missouri in 2016 and again in 2018 for the U.S. House.
Once in office, Bush is focused on seeking justice for the Black community. She said she plans to focus on COIVD-19 relief, Medicare for All and social justice.
Original (August 5, 2020): Single mother and HBCU alumna Cori Bush beat a 10-term incumbent during Tuesday's Democratic primary and is now slated to become the first Black woman to represent Missouri in Congress.
Bush deeply immersed herself into a life of progressive leadership after the killing of Michael Brown in 2014. The outraged activist stepped up as an outspoken leader during the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, demanding justice for the unarmed teenager killed by a former police officer.
In the years since the Ferguson demonstrations, Bush has proven resilient and determined, gradually climbing the political ranks to establish herself as a fixture in the progressive movement. She'll now be representing Missouri's First Congressional District as a U.S. representative.
According to KDRV, U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., holds the seat which will soon belong to Bush. The same position was previously held by Clay's father, William Clay Sr., who was one of the founders of the Congressional Black Caucus and a member of the House since 1969.
According to The New York Times, the Missouri activist was unsuccessful when she tried to unseat Clay in 2018. But in Tuesday's historic win, the 44-year-old earned almost 49% of the votes, while Clay came in with 45%. If she wins November's general election, the HBCU graduate will be the first Black woman to represent Missouri in Congress.
“Tonight, Missouri’s 1st District has decided that an incremental approach isn’t going to work any longer,” Bush said at a news conference after her win. “We decided that we the people have the answers, and we will lead from the front lines.”
Bush noted the significance of her achievement, particularly in a time when Black communities are demonstrating outrage over perpetual cases of police brutality.
"It is historic," Bush told her supporters. "That this year, of all years, we're sending a Black, working-class, single mother who's been fighting for Black lives since Ferguson, all the way to the halls of Congress."
Bush, who is an alumna of Harris-Stowe State University, is also a single mother who has served as a nurse and pastor, HBCU Buzz reported. Bush rose up to political prominence with the help of the progressive political organization Justice Democrats.
“If you don’t know, now you know. The squad is here to stay, and it’s growing,” Alexandra Rojas, executive director of Justice Democrats, said after Bush's historic win.
The group celebrated another significant achievement on Tuesday when Missouri voters elected to expand Medicaid eligibility, a major initiative that was backed by several progressive candidates and organizations, The Times reported.
"This is a time in our history when complacency cannot be the standard," Bush stated on her website. "Americans today must decide between medication and rent. Our justice system over-incarcerates and our education system under-educates, while millions of children live in poverty and thousands live in cages."
The former nurse describes herself as "a purpose-driven leader with a proven track record of fighting for the people."
"I have seen that change can happen across this nation when regular people stand up fearlessly against an unjust system," Bush added.
During her campaign, Bush said crime-ridden communities need more resources in areas such as health care and education, KMOV4 reported.
"This country has moved billions out of the federal education system and put it into the private prison industry," she said. "Let's defund that. We're already over incarcerating and under educating."
The working-class mom isn't unfamiliar with adversity.
"I have lived unhoused with two babies, I've worked on the minimum wage, I've been unemployed," she said.
The future congresswoman is also focused on eliminating the burden of student debt.
"When I talk about canceling student debt and making state colleges and trade schools free, it would take the burden off us," she said.