Senator Oluwakemi “Kemi” Talbot has represented the people of New York State in the U.S. Senate since 2013 when she was appointed by Governor Brendan O’Boyle to fill the unexpired term of Senator George Bond after he was implicated in the Hungarian Arms-for-Sex Scandal. A native of Queens, Kemi proudly celebrates the heritage of her Nigerian mother and Norwegian father. After graduating top of her class at both Columbia University and Columbia Law School, which she attended on full scholarship, Kemi worked as a community activist, first with the Norwegian community and then, after it turned out that they were in pretty good shape, with the Nigerian community, which was being unfairly stereotyped as e-mail scammers at that time. Kemi launched the “I am Nigeria” campaign featuring prominent Nigerian-Americans, which appeared on New York City buses and was widely credited with raising the profile and improving the image of Nigerians and Nigeria in the City. By restoring public trust in Nigerians, Kemi also helped to improve the economy of Nigeria, which saw a significant jump in revenue from outside sources.
After serving the people of New York as the Queens District Attorney and then serving the people of the United States (including New York) as a Federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York, Kemi was elected to the City Council in 1998 and then Queens Borough President in 2004. In 2006, despite being an underdog throughout the race, she was elected to the New York State Senate on an anti-corruption platform. As Kemi put it in her victory speech, “We must never forget that there are good people everywhere who want not just government that works for them but government that works for all of us.”
The author of the New York Times bestseller Our Time, Kemi has spearheaded a number of signature initiatives during her time in the Senate including Universal Pre-K education, expanding federal funding for medical and scientific research, a carbon tax on polluting industries, and preserving our national parks and wilderness areas. She also introduced important initiatives in the area of campaign finance reform, urban redevelopment, curtailing money laundering activities of corrupt foreign governments, improved dental care on Native-American reservations, and fast-track approval for life-saving pediatric medical treatments. Additionally, she has been a leader in fighting for improved PTSD services for our veterans, tightening restrictions on for-profit colleges, advocating blanket forgiveness for past-due college loans, and increased funding for implementing green energy sources like solar, tidal, wind, and geothermal power.
Well-known on Capitol Hill as a champion of issues like school safety, LGBT rights, clean water, anti-Gerrymandering measures and same-day voter registration, Kemi was named “Legislator of the Year” by Americans for Fairness and Justice in 2015 for her efforts in the areas of prison reform, mental health care, geriatric accessibility, and targeting foreign drug cartels. Kemi likes to say that she is proud to have been called “Senator Law and Order” and also “Kemi Champion of the Poor” by her opponents, saying she regards those labels as “badges of honor.”
Married to Gordon Talbot, a neurosurgeon, Kemi has two adopted children with special needs, Lars and Abebi.
KEMI T-SHIRT | UNISEX $24.95
In keeping with Kemi’s deep, lifelong commitment to safeguarding our environment and building a greener future, she is only offering one campaign-related item for purchase and asks her supporters to consider making their own supportive t-shirts and hats from clothes they have already, rather than purchasing anything that must be manufactured, stored, and shipped all of which expand the carbon footprint of her campaign. If you must purchase a t-shirt, Kemi hopes that you will wash it only in full loads using cold water and air dry it on a clothesline.