ATLANTA — An Atlanta woman pardoned In February by President Donald Trump announced Friday she is running for congress against civil rights icon and Georgia Democrat Rep. John Lewis.
Angela Stanton-King told 11Alive that she felt compelled to run for office after reflecting on her past, and that it's a dream come true for her. She qualified Friday for the 5th District race as a Republican.
In 2004, Stanton-King faced federal conspiracy charges for her reported involvement with a car theft ring. The author, who has also appeared on several reality TV shows, spent more than two years in prison.
She has since worked as a self-described advocate for criminal justice reform.
During her interview with 11Alive, Stanton-King reflected on the moment she got the call from her godmother, Alveda King, telling her the president granted her a pardon.
“I was on set when I got the call from my godmother,” she said. “When I got the call - it was hours before my birthday - I was honestly in shock, and it opened the door for what I’m able to do now: run for Congress, which is a lifelong dream of mine.”
“For me, I had put in a pardon a while back, but because I’m in the work for criminal justice reform, I advocate for others to be free," she added.
As Lewis, 80, runs for election for the eighteenth time, this is the eleventh time there would be a Republican challenger in the race. Democrat Barrington Martin is also running in the 5th District as a candidate. He qualified for the race on Friday.
In December, Lewis announced that he was battling Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Stanton-King said she believed it was time for him to step back in order to focus more on his health.
“With all respect to Congressman Lewis, when I think about him, I always have that image in my mind when he was on the Selma Bridge," she said. "The truth of the matter is, with all that he has given towards the fight for civil rights - which we greatly appreciate - these are no longer the days of marching over the Selma Bridge."
"There is a different injustice we are fighting now, and its for the lives of our unborn children," Stanton-King continued. "I think that it’s important to raise awareness about the fact that forty-six percent of the black population has been aborted, and many of our leaders in congress are funded by Planned Parenthood, which is the number one killer of black life. Unfortunately, Mr. Lewis happens to be one of those congressmen."
Though Congressman Lewis has appeared to vocalize support for Planned Parenthood, and the advocacy group has endorsed him, 11Alive could not independently verify how and if he has accepted money from the group.
Nevertheless, Stanton-King said that issue of abortion and criminal justice reform are at the central to her.
“How can a dream live if we kill it, right? How many Martin Luther King Jr.s, and Malcom Xs, or Barack Obamas have we aborted?" she asked. "Every time you hear that the majority of Democratic candidates go on stage, they say poor women of color need access to abortion. I was born to a poor woman of color. I was a poor woman of color when I gave birth to my children. Who's to say that their lives are worth any less than others? So, I think we need to take a different approach to the issue instead of constantly receiving funding for our own genocide."
She also told 11Alive that her campaign will focus on the core values that matter to the voters of the 5th District: job creation for minority communities, economic growth, faith and family, and supporting our active military and veterans.
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