WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, The Collective PAC— the nation’s largest political action committee dedicated to increasing Black political engagement, representation, and power across all levels of government-endorsed the second class of congressional challengers for the U.S. House of Representatives: Alisha Shelton, Rep. Attica Scott, Rep. Charles Graham, Jazz Lewis, Rep. Litesa Wallace, Commissioner Loretta Smith, Odessa Kelly, Tim Alexander, and State Senator Valerie Foushee.
Founders of The Collective PAC, Quentin James and Stefanie Brown James, released the following statement:
“The Collective PAC is proud to endorse Alisha Shelton, Rep. Attica Scott, Rep. Charles Graham, Del. Jazz Lewis, Rep. Litesa Wallace, Loretta Smith, Odessa Kelly, Tim Alexander, and State Senator Valerie Foushee for the U.S. House of Representatives. Their respective experiences as public servants, law enforcement officers, counselors, and community leaders will bring new perspectives and fresh ideas to Congress. A commitment to public service is one of the most important qualities a candidate should possess as they campaign to represent their districts in Washington, and each of these astounding candidates shares this quality. The Collective PAC looks forward to supporting these candidates on the campaign trail as they work to progress their communities forward.”
Alisha Shelton (NE-02) has been an active and dedicated member of the Omaha community since the age of 12 and it was in this neighborhood where she learned the value of helping others and hard work. From detasseling corn to working at the Kellogg’s factory to working at Home Depot, Ms. Shelton worked throughout her high school years to pay her way through Xavier University of Louisiana and graduate school at Bellevue University. Her commitment to helping other continued while in college where she volunteered to tutor second graders and answered phones for a sexual assault hotline. Ms. Shelton has dedicated her career to helping those most in need as a licensed practitioner and professional counselor. If elected to Congress she will work tirelessly to improve healthcare, broadband access, and bring more high-quality jobs to her district.
Rep. Attica Scott (KY-03) has dedicated her life to public service and community building. Having grown up in the West End of Louisville, she grew up in the historic Beecher Terrace public housing unit. This experience led to Rep. Scott spending decades fighting for policies that would uplift every neighborhood in the city. During her time on the Louisville Metro City council, Rep. Scott passed bills to ban the box on job applications and increase the minimum wage. In 2016 Attica Scott became the first Black woman elected to the Kentucky General Assembly this century. During her five years as part of the legislatures, she filed over 80 bills including The Maternal Care Act, a bill reducing the high maternal mortality rate of Black women. Rep. Scott is running for Congress because she knows that we can’t wait for climate justice, to end poverty, or wait for policy accountability, we must act now.
Rep. Charles Graham (NC-09) currently serves the people of North Carolina as a state representative and local business owner. During his time in the state legislature, Rep. Graham has proven that he is a champion of blue-collar workers and families and developed a reputation for working with anyone who will listen to better the lives of everyone in his district. As a business owner, he has continued his dedication to helping people with disabilities live independently as adults. Through his company, he places home health aides with seniors and disabled adults so they can stay in their homes. Before starting his own business and becoming a state legislator, Rep. Graham worked as an educator assisting children with special needs. If elected to Congress, he will fight to make sure that education is accessible and affordable, provide tax relief to families and small businesses and invest in the economy of the future.
Del. Jazz Lewis (MD-04) has been a lifelong and dedicated community member of Prince George County. Currently, he serves as a delegate in the Maryland General Assembly, where he has sponsored and supported legislation to expand access to healthcare, passed tax credits to incentivize grocery stores in food deserts, and support new opportunities for young people. Before becoming a delegate in 2017, Del. Lewis worked as a community organizer in Baltimore, where he learned the power of collective action and the importance of cultivating personal relationships within a movement. He took what he learned as an organizer and worked to elect candidates up and down the ballot that brought together people of all backgrounds to promote a better and more inclusive Maryland. Now Del. Lewis is running for Congress to ensure that we don’t pass the same problems down from generation to generation. He is a proven progressive leader that will champion issues for working families and if elected will bring change to Washington, D.C.
Rep. Litesa Wallace (IL-17) was born and raised in Chicago and has been a resident of Rockford for 16 years, and knows firsthand the impact of the rising cost of food and rent while dealing with the challenge of finding affordable child care. That is why she is running for Congress, to continue the fight for working families. Dr. Wallace has earned a bachelor’s degree from Western Illinois University, a master’s degree in marriage and family counseling from Northern Illinois University, and a Ph.D. in educational psychology. She has served in the Illinois House of Representatives for three terms in the General Assembly, where she strengthened the child care assistance program, fought against food insecurity, and extended the River’s Edge Historic Tax Credit to help redevelop Peoria and Rockford. Former Rep. Wallace has worked as an educator, activist, and public servant and will bring a new voice in Washington that will echo the people in her community.
Commissioner Loretta Smith (OR-06) grew up splitting her time between Grand Rapids, MI, and Portland, OR, balancing school, part-time work, and athletics. Her parents demonstrated the value of hard work, her mother was a union auto worker and an assistant teacher at Head Start, and her father worked at a steel mill. By following their example and the support of her extended family, Former Commissioner Smith became the first person in her family to graduate from college. After graduating she worked her way up in the office of Oregon U.S. Senator Ron Wyden for a little over two decades. In 2011, Ms. Smith became the second Black person to serve on the Multnomah County Commissioners. During her two terms as county commissioner, she expanded programs to keep seniors in their homes and created thousands of jobs for the underserved young people in her community. Commissioner Smith is running for Congress to close the opportunity gap and fight for the change her community needs.
Odessa Kelly (TN-05) was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, and followed in her father’s footsteps, becoming a dedicated public servant for the majority of her career. For the past 14 years, she has served the city of Nashville as a member of the department of parks and recreation, leading the Napier Community Center for more than a decade. In addition to working in parks and recreation, Ms. Kelly co-founded Stand Up Nashville in 2016 and took on big fights for racial and economic justice. In this role, she was able to secure 20% of all housing built at the site of a new soccer stadium that would be affordable and those stadium workers would be hired at $15.50 an hour from the community impacted by the new development. As Nashville has become a more progressive city, its federal representation needs to reflect that change, and Ms. Kelly is the woman for the job. She is someone who knows first hand the struggles and the sacrifices that her neighbors have faced because she has faced them too. If elected she plans to fight for a brighter and more equitable future for all.
Tim Alexander (NJ-02) is a New Jersey native who has enjoyed a long and successful career in law enforcement. After being racially profiled by the police and falsely arrested because of misidentification, Mr. Alexander felt compelled to pursue a career in law enforcement and bring change to the way agencies interacted with the communities they served. Mr. Alexander spent the majority of his law enforcement career with the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s office in Mays Landing, where he served as a Detective Captain in charge of the criminal investigation section. Mr. Alexander earned his J.D. from Rutgers University School of Law in 2012. After retiring from law enforcement he has served as a major trials prosecutor with the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office, worked for the Civil Rights Unit of Philadelphia Solicitor’s office, and currently provides private legal services concentrating on civil rights and employment discrimination. If elected to the House of Representatives, he will focus on national police training reform, infrastructure spending for his district, and fighting climate change.
Senator Valerie Foushee (NC-04) was born and raised in Orange County, North Carolina to parents who taught her the importance of hard work, community, and service to others. Those lessons have guided her throughout her life and career. Over the past 24 years, State Senator Foushee has gone from serving on the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School Board, to being the first Black woman elected to the Orange County Board of Commissioners, to serving in the North Carolina state House and then the State Senate. In each of these elected positions, she focused on the issues that matter most to herself and the community, creating good-paying jobs, championing underrepresented communities, and a good education. As a member of the assembly, Senator Foushee has worked across the aisle to end child marriage and expand healthcare, while also standing up for a woman’s right to choose. If elected to Congress, she will be a champion for working families, fight to reform the criminal justice system and fight against climate change.
ABOUT THE COLLECTIVE PAC
The Collective PAC is working to create an America where Black people are equally represented at every level of government. The Collective PAC is strategically focused on creating a truly equitable democracy where our nation’s local, state, and federal governments have diverse and talented elected leadership and Black people are fully represented in positions of power to create the policies necessary to progress our communities forward.
Over the past five years, The Collective PAC has endorsed and supported 300 successful Black candidates across the United States.