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Florida Rep. Carrie Meek to retire

MIAMI, July 7 (UPI) -- U.S. Rep. Carrie Meek told supporters Sunday that she will not seek a sixth term in Congress.

In 1992, Meek, 76, became the first black Floridian elected to Congress in modern times. She made the emotional announcement at Mount Tabor Missionary Church, where she declared her entry into politics 23 years ago.

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"It's time that I come home," Meek, D-Fla., said. "There's much more for to do here."

In 1982, she was the first black woman ever elected to the Florida Senate. Her retirement clears the way for her 35-year-old son, Kendrick Meek, a Democratic state senator to run. He confirmed Sunday that he would enter the race.

Meek made her announcement less than two weeks before candidates must qualify for the race. The Democratic primary is Sept. 10, and the general election is Nov. 5.

Her son told the Miami Herald Sunday that he was surprise by her decision, which he learned of on Wednesday.

"This was not an easy decision for her," he said. "Public service is in her blood, it's in her gut, but she decided it was time to do something else."

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Meek, the granddaughter of a slave, spoke out after the 2000 election, saying voters in her Miami district, which is 60 percent black, had their rights violated because of alleged roadblocks preventing voters from getting to the polls, and other violations.

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