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Born on February 7th, 1961, Allen Bernard West is a Republican U.S Representative from Florida’s 22ndCongressional district. He’s the first African American Republican Congressman from Florida since 1879 and started serving from January 2011.
West married Dr. Angela M. Graham in 1989. They currently reside in Plantation, Florida with their two daughters.
West has a record of more than 20 years active duty service in the United States Army and had achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel at the time of his retirement. While in the Army, he served in Iraq and was civilian adviser in Afghanistan.
West entered active duty in November 1983. His first assignment was as an airborne infantry company fire support team leader. He was promoted to captain in 1987 and graduated from the Field Artillery Officer Advanced Course. After a few other assignments with Infantry Division, he was promoted to major and attended the U.S. Army command and General Staff Collage in 1997. He became a battalion Commander of the 4th Infantry division in June 2002, and held this position until retirement.
While serving in Iraq, West was accused of mistreating a civilian Iraqi police officer; Yahya Jhodri Hamoodi thought to be involved in a plot to attack American soldiers. Hamoodi was beaten by four soldiers during an interrogation and West was reported to fire a shot near Hamoodi’s head. Hamoodi later on provided him with names and information, but no plans for the attack were found. West was charged with violating articles 128(assault) and 134 (general article). West stated “I know the method I used was not right, but I wanted to take care of my soldiers”. After the incident, West was relieved from his command in the Army.
West started his political career when he first stood as a Republican candidate for Congress in Florida’s 22nd congressional district for a seat in 2008 elections. He was defeated by 9% of the votes. As one of the 32 African American Republican candidates for congress in 2010, West is a strong supporter of the Tea Party Movement.
In January 2011, West condemned the official flying of Palestinian Liberating Organization flag saying that “it’s an attempt to legitimize an organization with a known history of terrorist attacks”. West has strong anti Islamic views and commented that Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Congressman and a practicing Muslim, represents the “antithesis of the principals upon which this country was established”. Much controversy arose over this statement, which West later on amended saying that the comment was not about his Islamic faith but his continued support to the Council of American- Islamic Relations.
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