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Virginia Democrats Block Black Republican From Joining Black Caucus

A.C. Cordoza: 'My black voice came to the table, and it was rejected'

• February 4, 2022 1:20 pm

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A black member of Virginia's House of Delegates was blocked from joining the Legislative Black Caucus because he is a Republican.

Delegate A.C. Cordoza, the first black person to represent the city of Poquoson, said Thursday on the House floor that the black caucus stopped him from joining, which the caucus's chairman later confirmed.

To be considered for membership, Cordoza had to take a questionnaire for entry, which "had little to do with being black and had more to do with being leftist," he said. Included on the form were questions about "environmental justice" and abortion.

"Yesterday one of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle said that we want black voices at the table," Cordoza said. "Well, my black voice came to the table, and it was rejected."

"I don't know what I should do," he concluded. "I'm a legislator, I'm black, and I want to help the black community. Maybe I need to start my own caucus, the Virginia Non-Leftist Black Caucus."

Democrats fumed at Cordoza's speech. Delegate Lamont Bagby, the caucus's chairman, questioned whether Cordoza "really wanted to be a black caucus member" or whether Republican leadership wanted him to join as a spy.

The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, which says its mission is "improving the economic, educational, political, and social conditions of African Americans," has zero Republican members. Republican lieutenant governor Winsome Sears was a member when she served in the House, but she resigned membership after saying the caucus was excluding her over her political beliefs.

Republicans put up a historically diverse ticket last year, won a clean sweep of statewide offices, and retook control of the House. Sears is Virginia's first female lieutenant governor and the first black woman elected to state office, and Attorney General Jason Miyares is the first Latino elected statewide.

Published under: Virginia