Who Is Cedric Richmond?
Born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, Cedric Richmond was elected to the state legislature at age 26. He moved on to a U.S. congressional seat in 2011, eventually joining the House Judiciary and Ways and Means committees and becoming chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. After co-chairing Joe Biden's successful 2020 presidential campaign, Richmond was appointed senior adviser to the president-elect and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.
Early Life and Education
Cedric Levon Richmond was born on September 13, 1973, in eastern New Orleans, Louisiana. Enduring the death of his father when he was just 7 years old, Richmond credits his mother, Maple, and the recreational coaches at a local playground with providing firm guidance.
Richmond became a multi-sport star at Benjamin Franklin High School and continued playing baseball at Morehouse College, earning his B.A. in 1995. He went on to attend Tulane University School of Law and complete the Harvard University Executive Education Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Louisiana State Legislature
Richmond embarked on a lengthy political career with his election to the Louisiana State Legislature from District 101 in 1999. A Democrat, he rose to become chairman of the Judiciary Committee and co-chairman of the Legislative Audit Advisory Council, his accomplishments including the creation of the State New Markets Tax Credit program that brought more than $250 million to areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Richmond's popularity helped him survive some bumpy patches during this period: He misrepresented his primary residence while seeking election to the New Orleans City Council in 2005, leading to his disqualification from the race and brief suspension of his license to practice law, and was involved in a fight at a pool hall in 2007.
Following an unsuccessful attempt at a U.S. congressional seat in 2008, Richmond earned the endorsement of President Barack Obama en route to easily defeating incumbent Republican Ánh "Joseph" Cao for Louisiana's 2nd Congressional District in November 2010.
Committees and Legislation
A member of the New Democrat Coalition since his early days in the U.S. House of Representatives, Richmond also joined the House Committee on Homeland Security, the Judiciary Committee and the Ways and Means Committee.
Richmond sponsored 90 bills during his decade-long tenure in the chamber, including the Community Lending and Small Business Jobs Act of 2013, the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act in 2018 and the Beyond the Box for Higher Education Act of 2019. He also emerged as a prominent congressional voice for crucial discussions about COVID-19 relief and police reform in 2020.
While Richmond continually pushed for compensation for recovering coastal communities, he came under scrutiny for accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from the oil and gas industry and reportedly turning a blind eye to the health problems caused by pollutants in his district. Additionally, Richmond was one of a small group of House Democrats to vote to approve the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline in 2015.
Congressional Black Caucus and House Leadership
Following his reelection in 2016, Richmond was named chair of the 46th Congressional Black Caucus. He immediately sought to use his sway to check the agenda of President Donald Trump, levying criticism of the travel ban that seemingly targeted residents of Muslim-majority nations and opposing the president's nomination of Jeff Sessions for attorney general. Although his term came to an end in early 2019, he retained his influence as chair of the Black Caucus Foundation's board of directors.
Richmond was appointed assistant to Majority Whip Jim Clyburn in 2018 which, along with his assignment to the powerful Ways and Means Committee in 2020, seemingly heralded his advancement to the upper levels of House Democratic leadership. However, the congressman announced he was relinquishing his seat shortly after earning election to a sixth term in November 2020.
Biden Campaign Co-Chairman and White House Adviser
In May 2019, Biden tapped the Louisiana congressman to co-chair his national presidential campaign. Along with shoring up Biden's support in the Black community, Richmond provided a much-needed dose of tough love following the candidate's underwhelming showings in the early stages of the race, spurring a turnaround that began with a resounding victory in the February 2020 South Carolina primary.
After Biden was declared the winner of the electoral college vote by most major media outlets on November 7, 2020, Richmond co-chaired the transition team before his appointment as senior adviser to the president-elect and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.
Richmond married Raquel Greenup, a New Orleans-based consultant and realtor, in May 2015. Their son, Cedric Jr., enjoyed a breakout moment with his delivery of the Pledge of Allegiance on day four of the 2020 Democratic National Convention.
Richmond became the star of the annual Congressional Baseball Game after taking his U.S. House seat in 2011, earning praise from The New York Times as "The Babe Ruth of Congress."
In May 2019, Richmond was inducted into the Tulane Law School Hall of Fame.
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