Black Republican Joins the CBC

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Florida Republican Rep. Allen West Wednesday officially joined the Congressional Black Caucus, becoming the first Republican to join the group since Rep. Gary Franks (R-Conn.) was defeated in 1996.

West was inducted along with the caucus' other 42 members at a ceremonial swearing-in ceremony at the Capitol Visitors Center Wednesday morning, hours before the 112th Congress convenes for the first time.

In a brief interview after the ceremony, West -- who kicked off his day at 5 a.m. with a seven-mile run on the National Mall with friends who came up from South Florida -- called it a "great day" but also acknowledged that he may be at odds with other members of the caucus.

"You bring a different perspective, but I think we're all working toward the same end, which is what is best for our country and within the African-American community," West said.

West also noted that he is making history not only by joining the CBC but also by being the first black Republican since Reconstruction to represent his home state of Florida.

"The last time there was a black Republican congressman from Florida it was back in the Reconstruction, Josiah T. Walls," West said. And to finally resurrect his legacy, that's what this is all about here. When you talk about the greatness of America, I think that it shows that this is where I should be and this is where my parents would've had me."