Looking Ahead

Obamas success may help boost other black politicians

Americans to consider political careers given that the glass ceiling, whether real or imagined, has been broken, says Elliott Petty, president of the Los Angeles-based New Frontier Young Democrats.

“I think Sen. Obama being on the ticket is going to do a lot for young African Americans who have always pondered a career in public service and in particular considered elected office,” says Petty, 29. In fact, he notes that members of his own predominantly African American organization seem to have become more energized since Obama began his run, and a couple of members were even inspired to run for local offices in various California districts without feeling inhibited by race. Recognizing Obama’s success in appealing to voters of all races, “young people feel like they can run for local office and they don’t have to be in a largely African American district to do so,” he adds. “I think people are beginning to get the sense that voters of all stripes will support candidates based on issues.”

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