Republican Allen West Joins Black Caucus
(New York Times) — The all-Democrat Congressional Black Caucus welcomed its first Republican member in 14 years on Wednesday, with the swearing-in of Representative Allen B. West of Florida. The newly elected congressman is the first Republican to join the black lawmakers’ group since Representative Gary A. Franks of Connecticut left office in 1997. The other black Republican elected to the House in November, Timothy E. Scott of South Carolina, declined to join the group. Mr. West, a former Army lieutenant colonel who represents a swath of Florida’s southeastern coast, called the group “monolithic” shortly after his election during orientation for new members on the Hill. But on Sunday, he said he hoped to bring “intellectual debate and discourse” to the caucus.