1st elected Alabama Black Republican: GOP ‘open to everyone’

Mid-South

Retired Army Sgt. Kenneth Paschal, the first Black Republican elected to the Alabama Legislature since Reconstruction, speaks before his swearing in ceremony in Pelham, Ala., on Wednesday, July 14, 2021. Paschal said his victory in a heavily white, suburban district shows that the GOP “is open to everyone.” (AP Photo/Jay Reeves)

PELHAM, Ala. (AP) — The first Black Republican elected to the Alabama Legislature since Reconstruction says the “GOP is open everyone.”

Retired Army Sgt. Kenneth Paschal was elected Tuesday to fill a legislative seat in suburban Shelby County. He held a ceremonial swearing-in ceremony Wednesday to celebrate his win.

The 54-year-old Paschal won the special general election to fill House District 73. The district is heavily Republican and stretches through the suburbs south of Birmingham.

The political parties in the Alabama Legislature are almost entirely divided along racial lines.

Paschal will be the only Black Republican. The Alabama Senate and House each have one white Democratic member.

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