SENATOR REVEREND RAPHAEL WARNOCK
Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock grew up in Kayton Homes public housing in Savannah, born one of twelve brothers and sisters raised in coastal Georgia. Raphael Warnock followed in his parent’s footsteps, preaching his first sermon when he was 11 years old.
Warnock decided to attend Morehouse College, Martin Luther King’s alma mater. He was the first member of his family to earn a degree from a four-year college. While at Morehouse, Warnock did a summer internship at the Sixth Avenue Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. He would later tell The New York Times that it was during the period that his faith moved from quiet prayer to social activism.
It was the Baptists who preached a kind of Social Gospel that captured my attention and imagination,” he said. He went on to obtain a Master of Divinity degree in 1994 from Union Theological Seminary in New York City and was ordained a Baptist minister. He continued his studies at Union Theological Seminary, eventually completing a Ph.D. in theology in 2006.
For over 16 years, Senator Warnock has served as Senior Pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the former pulpit of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He is the youngest pastor selected to serve in that leadership role at the historic church. He used the pulpit to encourage congregants to fight against drug addiction and the HIV crisis that was rampaging through Black communities.
From 2017 to 2020 he served as chairman of the board of directors of the New Georgia Project, a nonprofit organization co-founded by Georgia Democratic politician and activist Stacey Abrams. New Georgia aimed to protect voting rights and increase voter registration and turnout in the state.
Senator Warnock was elected to the United States Senate on January 5, 2021, in a special election runoff to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Senator Johnny Isakson. He took the oath of office on January 20, 2021. In explaining his making the leap from preacher to the politician, Warnock said, “Politics is a tool to effect the kind of change that I want to see in the world.”
Warnock campaigned on a platform that included proposals to expand healthcare coverage, reform the federal criminal justice system, and forgive student loans. Currently, Senator Warnock serves on the Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee; Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee; Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, as well as the Special Committee on Aging and the Joint Economic Committee.