MEADOWVIEW – Stepping out on faith has taken on new meaning for Dr. Tecoy Porter as he announced his intention to run for California State Senate in 2022 on Sunday.

It’ll be the first political campaign for Dr. Porter, who heads Genesis Baptist Church in the Meadowview area. He has his eye on replacing Dr. Richard Pan in California Senate District 6, which stretches from North Natomas to Elk Grove.

“I am a regular person who wants to ensure that we all have access to the political process,” Dr. Porter said.

While he may not be connected to the Democratic power structure, Dr. Porter is no stranger to the Capitol. Dr. Porter points to his involvement in sponsoring Assemblymember Mike Gibson’s AB 1196, which bans the use of the carotid choke hold maneuver that killed George Floyd in May 2020. Prior to that, he stood with Assemblymember Dr. Shirley N. Weber as she introduced AB 392, also known as the Stephon Clark law, which called for reform of law enforcement use-of-force policies.

Dr. Porter says it was the officer-involved death of Clark, which happened not far from his church, that thrust him into action and activism. That and how some elected officials remained quiet as calls went out for the killings of unarmed men like Clark and Floyd to end.

“Sacramento needs a leader who won’t turn a blind’s eye to the needs of constituents who don’t look like them or live in the same zip code,” Dr. Porter said.

After coming to Sacramento to deliver Clark’s eulogy in 2018, renowned civil rights leader, Rev. Al Sharpton asked Dr. Porter to form and lead a local chapter of his National Action Network (NAN). In the wake of recent protests following Floyd’s death, Dr. Porter and other Black leaders called on Gov. Gavin Newsom to address systemic racism, prompting Gov. Newsom to issue a statewide address on the issue, live from Genesis Church.

Dr. Porter comes from three generations of spiritual leaders and an even longer tradition of Black pastors who have taken “the work” beyond the four walls of the church and into the wider community. Men like Rev. Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rev. C.T. Vivian, and his own father Dr. Robert Porter, who founded Genesis Church.

Walking in his father’s footsteps, preserving his parent’s legacy at Genesis, and pivoting and humbling himself to learn how to save the church from financial issues, Dr. Porter says, have all prepared him for the challenges of stepping into the political arena.

“I have been through personal and public battles and am stronger for it. I see California in the same way,” he said.

By Genoa Barrow | OBSERVER Senior Staff Writer