Historic

Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta announces bid to be first out, Black U.S. Senator

State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta
State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (Photo: Twitter)

Pennsylvania Representative Malcolm Kenyatta has announced his run for Senator of Pennsylvania. If successful, he would become the first gay, Black Senator in U.S History.

Kenyatta, 30, announced his intention to run last night on The ReidOut on MSNBC.

Related: Out state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta presents official motion for state electors to oust Donald Trump

“There nothing’s written on a tablet somewhere that says America has to succeed,” Kenyatta told host Joy Reid.

“You know, America succeeds because every generation steps up to protect and expand the promise of America — a promise that has excluded for too long so many working families whose lives were tough prior to COVID, and this deadly pandemic has made those cracks even worse.

“And so I know that we have an opportunity right now to expand on that promise, to make sure we that we have a country that doesn’t just talk about justice and fairness for all but that actually makes it real, and it’s with faith in that mission and joy in my heart that I’m announcing here tonight that I’ll be a candidate for the United States Senate to represent the great commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

Shortly after the appearance, he posted his first campaign video to Twitter. It begins by showing him leaving his home and getting a goodbye kiss from his fiancé, Dr. Matthew Miller.

Kenyatta narrates, “Government hasn’t worked for working families like mine. I know what it’s like to see an eviction notice, to work a minimum wage job. My first one was at the age of 12, working to support my family.”

Kenyatta, an outspoken progressive, goes on to give an insight into his background, saying his social worker dad and home healthcare aide mom struggled to make ends meet for him and his three siblings.

He talks about division in society, and the failed coup on the Capitol last month, saying, “We also face a recognition: what’s been broken has been broken for more than four years. We have to answer the question at the heart of every campaign: Who should government work for? We need policies that actually speak to working families and lift them up.

“We have to choose. Are we going to go down the path of darkness or are we ready to bring a new day to Pennsylvania? A new day that acknowledges how out of reach the American promise has been for too many of us?”

Kenyatta is a representative for Philadelphia’s 181st district. He was first elected in 2018, becoming one of the youngest elected State Representatives in Pennsylvania.

The Senator vacancy is coming up because Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican, has announced he won’t run again in 2022.

Besides Kenyatta, two other Democrats have said they intend to run: John Fetterman, the state’s current lieutenant governor, and John McGuigan, a former borough councilor in Norristown. It’s likely others will join the primary race. Republican contenders have yet to step forward.

Another gay, Philadelphia Representative, Brian Sims, announced this week that he will be running to replace Fetterman as lieutenant governor.

Related: Out Democrat Brian Sims announces run for Lt. Governor

If successful in his candidacy, Kenyatta would be the first openly gay man and the first Black member of the LGBTQ community elected to that office. The only two out Senators are Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin, who is a lesbian, and Arizona’s, bisexual senator Kyrsten Sinema.

There have been 11 Black Senators in the U.S. history, with three currently in office: Democrats Cory Booker (New Jersey) and Raphael Warnock (Georgia), and Republican Tim Scott (South Carolina).

Kenyatta and his fiancé got engaged last summer. A photo Kenyatta posted of him popping the question went viral last June when posted to Twitter.