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Son to run for Congresswoman Meek's seat

MIAMI, July 8 (UPI) -- A Florida state senator announced his bid Monday to replace his mother, Rep. Carrie Meek, D-Fla., the first African-American House member from Florida since reconstruction.

"I look forward to continuing the work and service provided by my mother, U.S. Congresswoman Carrie Meek," said Kendrick Meek, 35, an 8-year veteran of the Legislature from Miami.

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"I am running for Congress to ensure this community will continue to receive the kind of committed representation it deserves in our nation's capitol," he said.

Carrie Meek, 76, said in her retirement speeches at two different churches Sunday she would work 24 hours, seven days a week to help elect her son

Carrie Meek served 10 years in Congress, following 12 years in the Legislature.

She said she is not stepping aside because of health, although she was hospitalized last year for shingles.

"I'm at the top of my game," she said. "I don't want to wait until I can't walk or can't talk."

She said she was proud that in 1992 she became the first black candidate elected to Congress from Florida in the modern era, and in 1982 because the first black candidate ever elected to the Florida Senate. She was elected to the state House of Representatives in 1979.

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Carrie Meek, the granddaughter of a slave, talked of the plight of African-Americans in this country.

"I saw good people held down and prevented from rising to their potential, simply because of their color," she said. "I knew of good men who were killed for the same reason. I saw that power could be used to build or destroy, and I saw how powerlessness could lead to frustration and anger. I cannot overstate to you how much I respect my blackness and my racial identity."

But she also had encouraging words of hope for youth.

"When I talk to young people, I tell them, 'You don't need anything. All you need is desire.'"

She said she has $368,000 in her campaign account of which she can legally contribute $5,000 to her son's campaign. Other Democrats will also get contributions and the rest, about $100,000, will go to a foundation she is creating to assist people in need.

Kendrick Meek has no opposition so far, and at this point is a heavy favorite to win his mother's seat.

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