He became the youngest person ever elected to the State Senate in Louisiana’s history and at that time, the youngest in the nation. 10Richard L. Engstrom and Jason F. Kirksey, “Race and Representational Districting in Louisiana,” in Bernard Grofman ed., Race And Redistricting In The 1990s (New York: Agathon Press, 1998): 229–265; Congressional Quarterly Almanac, 1993 (Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly Inc., 1994): 22–A–23–A; Congressional Quarterly Almanac, 1994 (Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly Inc., 1995): 591–592. 11Engstrom and Kirksey, “Race and Representational Districting in Louisiana:” 256, 259. As the polls predicted, Fields was defeated soundly in the runoff. (November 05, 2020), Office of the HistorianOffice of Art and Archives 19McKinney, “‘There’s A Bright Future Ahead’: Rep. Cleo Fields Plans to Rest, Get a Job—And Return to Office.”. Fields lost the runoff vote—which was mostly divided on racial lines—taking only 36 percent of the vote.16. 7Politics in America, 1994 (Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly Inc., 1993): 650. In 1990, Fields ran unsuccessfully against incumbent Republican Clyde Holloway for a U.S. House seat encompassing central Louisiana that included portions of the state capital, Baton Rouge. Upon completion of law school, the same year, Fields was elected to the Louisiana State Senate at the age of 24.

Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on November 22, 1962, Cleo was one of 10 children of Isidore Fields, a dockworker, and Alice Fields, a maid. Fields not only enjoyed creating the law, but also practicing it. At the age of 24 — the same year he received his law degree — Fields joined the state legislature, becoming the youngest person ever to hold such office. They have two sons, Cleo Brandon Fields, 3 years old and their new born, Christopher Justin Fields, born April 28, 1998. During the seventh grade, he told the Memphis Commercial- Appeal, his teacher asked class members to stand up and state their aspirations. "[8] Another version has Fields saying, "W. E. B. Fields married his high school sweetheart, Debra Horton.

Cleo Fields. [7] He has his own law firm in Baton Rouge, and handles a variety of matters. In the fall of 1996, he decided not to seek re-election due to redistricting. During his final year of law school in 1986, Fields ran a grass–roots campaign for the Louisiana state senate. Another black candidate withdrew and endorsed Fields, leaving him the entire black vote. He was succeeded in 2008 by Yvonne Dorsey-Colomb.

From an impoverished childhood, Cleo Fields rose to win a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives at age 29, serving as the youngest Member of the 103rd Congress (1993–1995). Fields went on to attend Southern University, gaining both a bachelor's degree and a law degree. He once quipped to a crowd of voters, “I know I don’t look like a man, but I am one.”5 While in the state legislature, Fields focused on environmental issues and economic opportunities for minorities. Alice took in laundry and worked as a maid to make ends meet. In 1990, Fields ran unsuccessfully against incumbent Republican Clyde Holloway for a U.S. House seat encompassing central Louisiana that included portions of the state capital, Baton Rouge. Isidore died after falling asleep behind the wheel of his car on his way home from working a double shift.2 Poverty became a way of life for four–year–old Cleo, as the Fields household struggled to make ends meet. The commercials were used during Cleo Fields's campaign for the 1990 U.S. congressional election in District 8 of Louisiana, Democratic Party. But when you see a page, you tell him to get two cups of coffee.'". He currently serves as a state senator for Louisiana's 14th State Senate district, a position he held twice before. Everybody laughed, including the teacher.

He ran once more in 2019, winning the same seat yet again. At the onset of this new millennium, while a State Senator, Fields began his own statewide interactive radio talk show called none other than, “Cleo Live.” It aired live weekly from 2000 – 2005 with programs centered on various issues affecting our state and nation. 23Mercurio, “Return Engagement? History, Art & Archives, U.S. House of Representatives, “FIELDS, Cleo,” https://history.house.gov/People/Listing/F/FIELDS,-Cleo-(F000110)/ Yet the flames of ambition burned in Fields at an early age.

According to Congressional Quarterly, Fields "was a leader against illicit drug use and was regarded favorably by environmentalists, but not so much so that he was perceived as an enemy of the state's powerful natural gas industry." The final blow to Fields’s congressional career came on January 5, 1996, when a U.S. District Court ruled that his wedge–shaped district was unconstitutional. Fields was born in Port Allen, Louisiana, the seventh of ten children. The couple had two sons, Cleo Brandon, born in 1995, and Christopher, born in 1998. I said, `My name is Cleo Fields and I want to be president when I grow up.' When his first child was born in 1995, he won cheers from his colleagues on the floor. I've been the underdog all my life." Though Fields maintained the election was not about race, he quickly shored up as many black votes as possible.15 In an open–primary field that was crowded with Democrats, Fields hoped his youth as well as his race would appeal to voters. His nearest competitor, fellow African–American State Senator Charles (C. D.) Jones, took 14 percent. He has been married to his wife, Debra for 27 years. Many in his party were angered by his candidacy, since most felt that a black challenger could not seriously win the office and Mason-Dixon Polling released on October 17, 1995 showed Fields to be the loser in every possible head-to-head combination of candidates. Can you get me a cup of coffee?' 12Michael J. Dubin et al., U.S. Congressional Elections, 1788–1997 (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 1998): 779. In the Louisiana Political Review, he noted that during childhood he considered his life a normal one. (Bill) Clinton administration rather than take the lead on many legislative initiatives. 9Bruce Alpert, “Fields’ Focus Earns Praise From Liberals,” 29 October 1995, Times–Picayune (New Orleans, LA): A1.

United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) Governor's Office Coronavirus Information Page . "Anyone who thinks Cleo Fields is not tough is not living in this world," he noted in the Tribune. He secured funds for various projects and held numerous town hall meetings securing several Presidential Cabinet members to address his constituents concerns personally. Fields served in the state Senate for six years. I never knew if I would be there the next day.”13 Fields blamed the political enemies he made during his years in the state senate for the relentless attacks on the boundaries of his district.14, In the midst of the battle to alter his district, Fields announced his candidacy for governor in 1995. Fields had underestimated the challenge he faced. Politics became his passion. Though race had been a preeminent factor during his Congressional redistricting fight, Fields vowed not to emphasize color in the election, proclaiming, "I'm not running to be the African American governor, but to be the best governor," in a speech excerpted in the Chicago Tribune. 13John Mercurio, “Return Engagement? Martin marched so Jesse Jackson could run. He currently serves as a state senator for Louisiana's 14th State Senate district, a position he held twice before. "When people cry for job opportunities, they're not black or white — they're unemployed." State Sen. Cleo Fields was driving to his Government Street office after church Jan. 19 when he noticed graffiti up and down the street, including on his office. Jesse Jackson ran so Obama could win. The Baton Rouge Democrat …

His district woes were far from over, however, and the district was ultimately thrown out by the Supreme Court as an unconstitutional racial gerrymander.

Fields Plotting Political Comeback.”. Though he made many political enemies with his voting record, his personal standing in Congress remained high. Fields was far from alone in engaging in such tactics, of course, but the exposure in a time when "government waste" was a handy political phrase wielded by conservatives, it did not help. “I was under a dark cloud the whole time I was up there.

Congressional Quarterly noted that Fields "has tried to use his seats on the Banking Committee and the Small Business Committee to leverage capital for small businesses willing to relocate in his district, where poverty rates are high." Fields was born in Port Allen, Louisiana and received his undergraduate and law degrees from Southern University in Baton Rouge. In 1995, he made a bid for the Governor of Louisiana, leaving a historical mark by becoming the first African American democratic nominee.

"Voters have had an opportunity to see me and see how I operate as an elected official," he explained during a news conference covered by the Chicago Tribune. For a then–33–year–old candidate like me to get 17 percent of the cross–over vote, I think that says there’s a bright future ahead, a bright future.”19 Fields also was optimistic that the 2000 Census would gain Louisiana an extra House seat, noting that the loss of a seat following the 1990 Census did not account for large numbers of minority and low–income residents.

Obama ran so we can all fly. In junior high school, it really hit me in the face.

Fields used his voting power in the service of a liberal agenda. It was a close race, however, and even as the Fields camp received news of victory, local television stations were announcing Turnley's re-election. “Chills just went down my spine,” Fields remarked about his swearing–in.1 Yet the controversy over racial gerrymandering and the peculiarity of Louisiana’s election law extinguished Fields’s meteoric political career in the U.S. House after just two terms. [1] "I know I'm going against the odds, but I am an odds-buster," he noted in The Commercial Appeal.

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