The Honorable Kendrick B. Meek, a former Congressman representing Florida’s 17th congressional district, has joined Politic365 as chairman of its Editorial Board. In this position, Meek will guide the publication’s growth and development of news, perspective and commentary for American decision leaders, focusing first on penetrating communities of color.
“This is a very exciting time for online journalism – history is being made every day, and it’s vital that this history be recorded from the perspectives of all Americans, including those who traditionally haven’t had a sufficient voice at the political table.”
Meek has a record of distinguished public service. He has fought hard for the social and economic well being of the citizens of a highly diverse state – Florida – and for our nation as well. Now, he will bring that experience to the leadership of Politic365.
“Politic365.com is bringing the power of the Web and modern technology to serve an age-old concern — the need to connect,” Meek said. “As chair of the Editorial Board, I want to build on this success. I want to make Politic365 an essential part of the daily lives of Americans. I want to build on Politic365’s strengths — its news, its analysis, its informed and civil conversations — on the challenges facing our nation.”
“As Chairman of the Editorial Board, it is my goal to make sure that Politic365 is one of the favorites on computer screens throughout the U.S. for news and information,” he said.
A Florida native, Meek grew up in a family familiar with political action. His mother, Carrie P. Meek, decided to run for the Florida Legislature when he was 12 years old. He helped out by painting campaign signs at the kitchen table.
He remained a part of his mother’s outreach and activism and was inspired by her service to the citizens of Florida. He was part of her successful effort to make history as the first African-American to be elected to Congress from Florida since Reconstruction. Meek attended Florida A&M University, where he honed his skills both as an athlete — he was a star on the Rattlers football squad — and in politics — he established Florida A&M University’s Democratic club and became statewide president of the College Young Democrats.
Meek graduated in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He joined the Florida Highway Patrol and became the first African-American to hold the rank of captain.
In 1994, Meek sought election to the Florida Legislature, winning a seat in the House of Representatives, where he served until his election to the Florida Senate in 1998. In the Legislature, Meek built a reputation for his conviction to principles, his determination to make a difference and his ability to build bipartisan consensus. Working with Republicans, he passed a bill that provided compensation for two African-Americans, Freddie Pitts and Wilbert Lee, who 35 years earlier were convicted of a murder they did not commit.
In 2000, when the state’s Republican leadership launched attacks on equal education and employment opportunity, Meek led the opposition. He energized Floridians with a 25-hour sit-in outside the governor’s office, the beginning of a campaign that ultimately led to a more moderate policy.
Determined to reverse the state’s inaction on education, in 2002 Meek launched an initiative to reduce the sizes of classes in Florida’s public schools. Despite heated opposition and pointed criticism from the state’s leaders, Meek led a petition drive that collected more than 500,000 signatures to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot. “I wasn’t fighting just for my daughter, Lauren,” Meek recalled later. “I was fighting for her classmates. I was fighting so that all kids would get a good start in an environment in which they could learn. As a father, and a lawmaker, nothing is more important to me.”
The amendment won overwhelming support from the citizens of Florida. Now, smaller classrooms are the defining feature of Florida’s system of public education.
That same year, Meek won election to Congress, representing the 17th Congressional District of Florida, which includes parts of Miami-Dade and Broward County. In his four terms in Congress, Meek again demonstrated principled leadership and skills at working in a bipartisan fashion to achieve results.
“Serving in the Florida Legislature and in Congress gave me a raw perspective on the true needs of the American people” Meek said. “The most important of these was the need to be heard. I learned to truly listen to and acknowledge what people are saying, and to engage them in a conversation about their ideas and our future. That is my vision for Politic365 – a real discourse and informed discussion on the political landscape of our country.”