Raphael Warnock's roots showed little promise of a future that led to the US Senate. He grew up in Savannah in the Kayton Homes public housing project, the second youngest of 12 children. His mother as a teenager had worked as a sharecropper picking cotton and tobacco, and he referenced her in his victory speech, per CNN. "Because this is America, the 82-year-old hands that used to pick somebody else's cotton went to the polls and picked her youngest son to be a United States senator." His father was a preacher who also made money hauling old cars to a local scrapyard, reports the AP. "My daddy used to wake me up every morning at dawn," Warnock told a hometown crowd at a drive-in rally two days before his election win over Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler Tuesday. "He said, 'Boy, you can’t sleep late in my house. Get up, get dressed, put your shoes on. Get ready.'"
The first member of his family to graduate college, Warnock earned a PhD in theology that led to a career in the pulpit, eventually as head pastor of the Atlanta church where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. preached. Now Warnock, 51, will go to Washington as the first Black senator elected from Georgia. "Only in America is my story even possible," Warnock told the cheering crowd Sunday. He won election on a platform that called for bail reform and an end to mass incarceration; a living wage and job training for a green economy; expanded access to voting and health care, and student loan forgiveness. During his speech Sunday in Savannah he also recalled his 2017 arrest at the US Capitol as he and other pastors demonstrated against efforts to repeal ObamaCare. "I'm going to meet those Capitol police officers again. This time they will not be taking me to central booking. They can help me find my new office."
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