Hear the first installment of the Reality Radio with Cathy Hughes’ “Living History” segment, featuring Chaka Fattah here
In the Philadelphia area, Congressman Chaka Fattah is a household name. Elected to the Pennsylvania State House at age 27, Fattah, now 57, has long been known for his support for African-Americans, the working class and the poor, no matter whether a Democrat or Republican is sitting in the Governor’s mansion. The longtime politico has backed many different causes including the campaign of a one-time freshman Senator from Illinois who became the nation’s 44th president. Fattah’s wife, Renee Chenault Fattah, is among the city’s most popular television news anchors.
Among these accomplishments, Fattah is honored this Black History Month as part of Radio One’s Living History. Here’s what he had to say this morning on the Tom Joyner Morning Show.
TOM JOYNER: He’s been featured on the Radio One spotlight as a part of the Living Black History segment. He represents Philadelphia in the 2nd District. REP.
CHAKA FATTAH: This is amazing. Usually when they say you’re history, it means you’re done. You’ve been a longtime supporter of my work. But I’m 30 years into this process as an elected official. Has it been 30 years? I was the youngest guy ever elected to the State House at age 27…
And I still don’t know what your name means.
The beauty is that it doesn’t have a meaning. I was named after someone. The great Zulu warrior Chaka, I was the namesake. He really epitomized the discipline and strategy. My mother thought I needed a little more discipline I guess. It’s been a great honor to represent the people of Philadelphia. We’ve helped well over 25 million people across the country doing a lot of the same work you’ve been doing getting young people into college and making sure they have access. You’ve been particularly focused on historically black colleges, I’ve been focused on financing college. I was on your show when we first introduced my GEAR UP bill (which assists students around the country with access to financial aid)15 years ago. Bill Clinton signed it into law. Twelve million kids later, that’s a pretty big deal.
Sybil Wilkes: That’s a great legacy especially in this day in age in Congress where you hear about the stonewalls and how nothing is being done.
Well you’ve got to find your niche. Now I’m responsible for all the science-related funding in the country. I’ve been working on brain science. I know you’ve done some work on Alzheimer’s. We have 5 million people in this country suffering from Alzheimer’s. That is one of 500 brain diseases and we’re nowhere on any of them. I’m trying to move that forward. The President has joined me and we’re going to do this big initiate to literally reengineer the brain and understand how it works and maybe figure out how to solve some of these problems.
Sybil: If you could work on some of the brains of some of the comedians we work with here…
I don’t want anyone making any jokes on me, so I’m not going to touch that!
For more information on Rep. Fattah, go to his offcial website.
(Photo: Chaka Fattah’s Flickr)