RNC Honors Black Republican Trailblazers

(Republican National Committee) — On Thursday, February 16, Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel hosted the annual RNC Black Republican Trailblazers reception in Washington, D.C., to honor Black Republicans who have made significant contributions to the Black Republican community. 

Chairwoman McDaniel presented the RNC Pioneer Award to Vernon Jones, the RNC Emerging Leader Award to Black Conservative Activist and Commentator C.J. Pearson, the RNC Trailblazer Award to West Virginia State Delegate Caleb Hanna, and the RNC Legacy Award to Jennifer Carroll, the 18th Lieutenant Governor of Florida.

The RNC Trailblazer Award is presented to someone who displays an exceptional leadership background in the Republican Party. Whether it be working to advance conservative legislation, helping to get Republicans elected, or committing themselves to growing the Republican Party, Trailblazers have a track record of getting things done.  

  • Caleb Hanna is a Republican member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, representing District 44. Hanna was first elected to public office in 2018 at 19 years old and was the youngest African-American ever elected to a state office. He attended West Virginia State University as a full-time student and earned his B.A. in economics. Hanna serves as the Assistant Majority Whip, Chair of the Select Committee on Minority Issues and the Vice Chair of a Select Committee on Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse, and a member of the Education, Senior, Children, and Family Issues committee.

The RNC Emerging Leader Award is presented to individuals who demonstrate attributes in promoting Republican Party principles through being a leader in their organization, community, or state. This may include either running for office or running Republican campaigns, organizations, and issues. 

  • C.J. Pearson is a prominent conservative online personality who has amassed more than 350,000 likes on Facebook, more than 100,000 followers on Twitter, and more than 100 million views on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter combined. Ever since the 2nd grade, C.J. has held an interest in politics, having closely followed the drama and excitement surrounding the 2008 Presidential Election and even casting his vote for John McCain in his class’s presidential mock election. The ideals and principles of limited government, fiscal conservatism, and economic opportunity sparked a fiery passion within him – even at an incredibly young age.

The RNC Legacy Award is presented to individuals who demonstrate a significant and long-term impact for Republican Party principles either locally, statewide, and/or nationally. They demonstrate a long-term commitment to the Republican Party and have an insightful impact on their community, state, or the nation. 

  • Jennifer Sandra Carroll is a Trinidadian-born American politician who became the first woman to be elected as the Lieutenant Governor of the U.S. state of Florida. She was born in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, immigrated to the United States as a young child and later served her adopted nation commendably. Enlisted in the United States Navy in 1979, she rose from the rank of an enlisted jet mechanic to retire as a Lieutenant Commander after a service of 20 years. Alongside, she finished her graduation with a degree in Political Science and went on to complete her MBA. In 2003, she ran for a seat in Florida House of Representatives and won with majority, becoming its member from the 13th district. She served as a state legislator for over seven years, and in addition to her duties assisting the Governor with economic development, she also oversaw the ‘Florida Department of Military Affairs’ and the ‘Florida Department of Veterans Affairs’. In 2011, she became the first black person and the first woman to be elected as the Lieutenant Governor of Florida. 
  • Jennifer’s son, Necho Carroll, accepted the RNC Legacy Award on her behalf.

The RNC Pioneer Award is presented to leaders in the Republican Party who forge a new path for themselves and show others what conservative leadership looks like. Whether standing against the corporate media or fighting for their community despite strong opposition, they are on the forefront of the GOP’s efforts to grow the party. 

  • Vernon Jones was born on October 31, 1960, in Laurel Hill, North Carolina. From there he went on to attend North Carolina Central University in Durham, earning a B.A. in business administration in 1983. Jones would later graduate from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Executive Program. Always interested in public policy issues, Jones sought election to the Georgia House of Representatives where he served for eight years, from 1992 to 2000. Outside of the office, Jones is active in a number of community and civic organizations, including the Advocates for Seniors; New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Decatur, Georgia; Youth Prevention Services; and the National Black M.B.A. Association. He is also a founding member of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Stone Mountain Alumni Chapter.

This article was originally published at GOP.com. Follow the Republican National Committee on Twitter: @GOP.

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