In some ways, Shion Fenty’s campaign is similar to that of many others taking place this year across the U.S. She’s a 37-year-old Black woman, a first-time candidate, and is facing two middle-aged white men in the primary. But there’s something that sets her apart from the wave of other women of color running for office this year: Fenty is a Republican.
The fact that she’s a Black woman and the daughter of immigrants in a Virginia congressional district that recently turned blue would make many think she’s a Democrat. But the fashion designer and business owner doesn’t resent that assumption.
“They automatically stereotype you: ‘Since you’re African-American, you must be Democrat.’ So I get a lot of shocked faces like, ‘What the heck is going on?!’ and a lot of people have been … kind of suspicious,” she told Refinery29. “Once people talk to me, and they get to know me, and they understand where I’m coming from — after that they’ve just been very welcoming and very open.”
Fenty’s lighthearted, optimistic tone sounds like a contrast with how many other women, typically spurred to action by Hillary Clinton’s loss and President Trump’s policies, talk about running for office. There’s anger and passion in their voices. That ire doesn’t seem to exist within Fenty, though she comes across as someone who deeply cares about changing things for her community.
Fenty’s parents migrated from Guyana and she was born two months later in Brooklyn, NY. She was the second of seven children, and moved to Virginia when her parents divorced. Fenty said she had “a typical life”; she went to school and worked, even though at times, her family had to rely on public assistance. But what changed her most growing up was seeing her mom take on the American dream by becoming a small business owner. Inspired by her mom, Fenty focused on being a fashion designer and having her own business.
“I’ve never had any political aspirations,” she said, adding that she has always cast a ballot based on “who I felt was right for the moment.”
Throughout the years she has volunteered with low-income and foster children. Seeing the problems some of the kids faced — struggling schools, incarcerated parents, abusive homes — spurred something in her. Grassroots work, she reasoned, was not enough.
“There has to be a holistic view of helping out these kids. It’s more than just, ‘Oh, let’s make the schools better.’ It’s how can we invest in the community,” she said. “I realized this issue is bigger than just volunteerism. There are some things that have to be done on a federal level and local level.”
When a friend suggested she run for office, Fenty was skeptical at first. She said, “Why would I do that?” But after doing some research and deliberating for more than two months whether it was worth it to throw her hat in the ring, she decided that by running she could “give everyone the voice they need.”
Democratic Rep. Donald McEachin currently holds the 4th District seat Fenty is vying for. But before she can face him, she needs to defeat David Leon and Ryan McAdams for the Republican nomination. When she announced her run, Fenty said the federal government “had too much control over our personal, academic, and economic successes,” so it was necessary “for policies that will return that control where it belongs: back home to our families and communities.” Her platform is based on three components: workforce and small business development, education, and immigration reform. She opposes the No-Child Left Behind Act and Common Core standards, wants to reform the student loan financing system to prevent young people from racking up more student debt, and is interested in helping small business through regulatory and tax reform.
Click here for more on this story at www.refinery29.com
Republican I know she GUYANESE but I can not support her political party….gal bye
She is Democrat running to replace a republican
The article clearly said she is Republican.
Born 2 months after her parents migrated. Isnt she one of the “anchor babies” republicans hate and blame for ruining ‘Murica??? Nah gurl. You not one of us.
I know that’s right
Dwrl!!! ???? And here I am nightly bobbin and weavin in and outta VA. If I could only work from home I’d be the happiest woman alive?
Lol y’all know republicans are the most primitive ? but kudos
I cannot condone or support her political beliefs. Particularly in this climate. She should know better and she’s not going to win. We are woke today!
Renita Fisher is of Guyanese heritage and she’s running for office as a Democrat. Google her and please feature her! She’s someone that Minnesota is proud of and she’s well supported.
Does it matter if they are democrats or republicans? What have they done for the people!
Anthony Tyndall, don’t look to politicians to ‘do’ anything for the people! So for yourselves!
Anthony Tyndall it matters very much
She is running for a republican seat- that is beyond- and Virginia of all places?
Virginia this is an racist state I live in
Clearly Tyndall don’t live here ??♀️??♀️??♀️
Lost me at… Republican.
Is this a joke
I usually quite enjoy celebrating success on this page.
However, considering the current leadership and climate this is definitely not to be celebrated. I’m quite sure you could find someone more worthy of the attention.
Republican? No words
Girl bye move your whole rass im will never support someone who on Donald trump team bye
She is a Democrat
A republican holds the seat right now
“But there’s something that sets her apart from the wave of other women of color running for office this year: Fenty is a Republican.”
Reading is FUNDAMENTAL.
Deme Prince Please “RE-READ” the article; you’re missing something
Dis got to be fake news or she like rest black donkey under trump team she not Guyanese she jackass
We may have different political views but it’s good that she’s getting involved in politics. She might start out conservative and end up liberal. It’s happened before. We’ll just have to pray that she sees the light eventually.
Well i am proud of her hard work and dedication. Unfortunately, i cannot champion that she gets the seat. ?
I don’t think she will get much support from the US based community given her party’s views on issues such as health care and DACA.
You may be quite surprise. We only assume that many Guyanese living here are Democrats…it can be very much the other way. Maybe this is strategy, a fresh face can outshine her opponents for the seat.
So she voted this clown in?! I hope I see she skytes in Walmart ???
some of you all guyanese sounds so ignorant you all needs to take your time and read you all so caught up with trump she is demoracrat running against republican we are an intelligent ppl but the way some of you just jumping to conclusion will make others look at us like nothing some of you needs to read and understand
READING IS FREAKIN FUNDAMENTAL. PER THIS WRITER SHE IS A REPUBLICAN WHICH SETS HER APART FROM OTHER WOMEN OF COLOR. #SPELLIGNORANT ??????????????????????
wow, she has aspirations!
Pity that it’s as a republican
no hate but thats her companys net worth she herself is worth $50m as Forbes confirms it she really has a long way to go especially now that rihannas fenty beauty is out
I will support my peeps