State. Rep. Vernon Jones, the black Georgia Democrat who’s become a vocal Trump supporter, has inspired at least one other Democratic state lawmaker to publicly support the president’s re-election.
On Tuesday, Bernadine Kennedy Kent, a black state representative from Ohio, said she was following in his footsteps.
“From my perspective as a lawmaker who was elected for the first time in 2016, following a lifetime as an educator and child advocate, I have admired President Trump’s dedication to law and order and his respect for our Constitution. His strong leadership and willingness to fight for educational and economic empowerment for minorities has brought unprecedented hope to the American people,” she said.
“President Trump has provided a record number of Black Americans with a real shot at the American dream,” Kent continued. “Under President Trump’s leadership, Black Americans have experienced record-low unemployment and the poverty rate among the black community has fallen to its lowest level in U.S. history. A large part of this success is due to President Trump’s willingness to listen to the ideas of Senator Tim Scott and the concerns of invested citizens from diverse communities in economic distress. This effort produced a groundbreaking solution called ‘Opportunity Zones,’ a way to create jobs and spur investment in disadvantaged communities. We all recognize that gainful employment and economic development is the best deterrent against violence and social unrest, so I want to thank President Trump for his commitment to ensuring the success of the Black community in every way.”
She went on to note President Trump’s support of Historically Black Colleges and Universities:
“Most students at these historically black colleges are low-income, first-generation students. President Trump’s historic action, permanently providing HBCUs with more than $250 million a year has ensured the legacy of these colleges and universities that are near and dear to my heart, as well as the futures of their graduates for generations to come.”
Kent thanked her husband, a lifelong Democrat, for supporting her, explaining that his heart changed as well after an incident in May of 2019 with her colleagues.
“That changed, however, following the muddied mistreatment and unlawful action taken against me by the Ohio Democratic Caucus following a dispute over my advocacy for two child victims of physical and sexual abuse. Following my traumatic experience on May 22nd caught on Statehouse security video, my husband proclaimed his intent to vote for President Trump and walked away from the Democrat Party,” she said. “After considering this scarring event, as well as other negative experiences in my legislative career, I, along with other citizens, came to the conclusion that the Democrat Party does not have the people’s best interest in mind.”
At the time, Kent filed a complaint with the Ohio House alleging she was “forcibly pushed back” by the caucus legal counsel and the minority deputy chief of staff.
“I believe Cherry and DiPalma intentionally conspired to set me up to be arrested and charged with a crime,” she said in the complaint. “I also consider Cherry and DiPalma’s conduct to be racially discriminatory and a violation of my constitutional rights.”
This is the latest Statehouse dustup involving Kent, a two-term lawmaker representing the 25th House District, covering eastern and northeastern Columbus. In June 2018, House Democrats took the highly unusual step of voting her out of the caucus following an incident three months earlier when Kent sent a public records request to Columbus city officials on Ohio Legislative Black Caucus letterhead and included the signatures of 15 members of the caucus without their permission. […] She said investigators found that she had committed no criminal offense. Kent argued that she thought she had permission to use the names of black caucus members on the records request. (The Columbus Dispatch)
Putting her feelings about her party aside, Kent said in her endorsement that her “values truly align with President Donald J. Trump’s willingness to work with those of differing opinions and perspectives more so than with Joe Biden’s divisive rhetoric, promotion of mass incarceration, and disrespectful, insensitive ideologies."
She pointed to his "you ain't black" comment to a radio host earlier this year about African Americans who can't decide between the two candidates.
"Not only am I Black, I am a proud American and delighted to endorse President Trump for re-election," she closed. "Furthermore, I am honored to share with people my intent to vote for him and spread the word on the value of his leadership and his dedication to the American people."
Ohio Democratic lawmaker Bernadine Kennedy Kent endorses Trump; has been feuding with fellow Democrats. https://t.co/lKYOHnlwd5— Columbus Dispatch (@DispatchAlerts) September 29, 2020