Convicted Felon Maybe the First Black Woman Member of US Congress
August 7, 2020
August 7, 2020|Daily News Update, US POLITICS
Keeda Haynes is no ordinary politician. In her lifetime, she had overcome many challenges. She had been convicted of a crime she said she did not commit. She served time in prison, yet she managed to go to law school, became a lawyer, and a public defender. Now she is running for Congress in Tennessee hoping to unseat Democratic incumbent Rep. Jim Cooper
Tennessee has had two Black candidates elected to Congress in the state’s history — the last was in 1999. If elected, Haynes would be the first black congresswoman from the state, but that is not all that makes her story unique.
She is a progressive Democrat, who is running in a three-person primary race who has been on both sides of the law. Two weeks after she graduated from Tennessee State University with a degree in criminal justice and psychology, her parents dropped her off at prison. She spent nearly forty-eight months in prison on marijuana charges.
Haynes said, “I had to find things to do while I was there since they had nothing for anybody to do in prison that didn’t need a GED or didn’t want to do some type of blue-collar manual labor once you got out. So I had people send me in books so that I could study the LSAT while I was there.”
Following her release, she worked with her attorney as his law secretary and attended law school at night. Once she passed the bar exam, she had to go in front of the American Bar Association board to be allowed to practice because of the felony on her record. Haynes went on to practice as a public defender for nearly seven years. Then she went to work for a nonprofit organization that focuses on social and racial justice for the incarcerated or formerly incarcerated.
Haynes’s story is inspiring for many reasons. No matter what life throws your way with hard work, dedication, and devotion, you can always overcome it. TrueNewblog congratulates Miss Haynes for her hard work and representation on behalf of justice-involved individuals. We wish her well and hope she wins. She will be a voice for the voiceless.