What Retirement Among Black Congress Members Means For The Future

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The Congressional Black Caucus will be experiencing some major changes in the upcoming midterm election cycle.

At least seven members of the lawmaker group former more than 50 years ago will not be returning to office after this session. A wave of retirements, campaigns for other offices, and the passing of a longtime member provides an opportunity for new membership –– and leaders –- to rise.

The CBC is very much in a transitional phase right now after being really stable for a really long time,” Jarrod Loadholt, an attorney and former aide to Rep. Maxine Waters, told The Huffington Post. “You’re starting to kind of see this reset in Black politics.”

Among those leaving the 59-member Caucus are Reps. Karen Bass (California), Anthony Brown (Maryland), G.K. Butterfield (North Carolina), Val Demings (Florida), Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas), Brenda Lawrence (Michigan), and Bobby Rush (Illinois).

Longtime CBC member Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida passed away last April. His successor, Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick was sworn into office Tuesday (January 18).

“There is obviously an effort to make sure that that new generation has continuity to the older one, but that baton pass will be delicate,” a senior aide to a Black House member who spoke anonymously, told HuffPost.

Some Black Progressives see the openings as an opportunity to get more of their members into the group without having to challenge long-serving members. Still, the Caucus has seen a range of perspectives since its founding in 1971 –– a characteristic which some strategist say keep the group strong.

Most recently, the CBC wielded that strength to get the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed in both chambers, leaving many expecting of what a new guard of Black political leadership can do.

Check out The HuffPost’s full read on the future of the CBC by clicking HERE.

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