Michael Steele

becomes first black RNC chairman

(The Boston Globe, by Liz Sidoti, January 31. 2009)  "The Republican Party chose the first black national chairman in its history Friday, just shy of three month after the nation elected a Democrat as the first African-American president. The choice marked no less than "the dawn of a new party", declared the new GOP chairman, former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele. Republicans chose Steele over four other candidates, including former President George W. Bush's hand-picked GOP chief, who bowed out declaring, "Obviously the widn of change are blowing."

Steele takes the helm of a beleaguered Repulican Party that is trying to recover after crushing defeats in November's national elections that gave Democrat control of Congress put Barack Obama in the White House. GOP delegates erupted in cheers and applause when his victory was announced, but it look six ballots to get threre. He'll serve a two-year term. Steele, an attorney, is a conservative, but he was considered the most moderate of the five candidates running. He was also considered an outsider because he's not a member of the Republican National Committee. But the 168-member RNC clearly signaded it wanted a change after eight years of Bush largely dictating its every move as the party's standard-bearer.

Steele became the first black candidate elected to statewide office in Maryland in 2002, and he made an  unsuccessful senate run in 2006. The former chairman of the  Maryland Republican Party currently serves as chairman of GOPAC, an or- ganization the recruits and trains Republican candidates and in theat role he has been a frequent presence on the talk show ciruit.

"... Steele der als Kleinkind adoptiert wurde, wuchs in Washington in bescheidenen Verhältnissen auf. Nach dem Collegestudium ging der gläubige Katholik in eine Priesterseminar, entschied sich aber dann für eine juristische Laufbahn. Seine politische Karriere begann er in den frühen neunziger Jahren im demokratisch geprägten Prince George's Contry, einem Bezirk in der Nähe Washingtons, der als der wohlhabendste im Lande mit einer mehrheitlich schwarzen Bevölkerung gilt. (FAZ, 27, 2009, gel.)