Ensler becomes Alabama’s first Jewish legislator in more than 40 years

Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 6:41 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama saw the election of its first Jewish state lawmaker in more than forty years Tuesday as Democrat Phillip Ensler unseated his Republican rival by a commanding margin.

Ensler’s victory over Republican state Rep. Charlotte happened with 60% of the vote. Surrounded by family and close friends outside Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church in downtown Montgomery, he was sworn in early Wednesday morning.

“I am incredibly honored and grateful,” said Ensler. “My Jewish upbringing instilled in me a commitment to fighting for an inclusive community, an equitable community, a fair community.”

Ensler said his win was due largely in part to boots on the ground. He says he knocked on doors and made it a point to meet residents where they were.

“We put together a coalition of white, black, democrat, republican, independents, and just showing that kind of unity and having voters come up to me who, you know, have always voted Democrat, those that have sometimes voted Republican, but to say that, that they appreciated the campaign we ran, and that’s why they voted,” Ensler explained. “I’m looking forward to that part of continuing that coalition building.”

Ensler says he is ready to get to work to tackle the issues tied to education, healthcare and public safety that matter the most to his constituents.

“Even though I can celebrate, the needs in the community are still very much here today. So just being responsive, you know, already letting people know, hey, I’m here for you and can try to help and then certainly, though, prepare for the session in the new year, and you know, think about some bills that I can prefile,” said Ensler.

Ensler is an attorney and currently serves as the Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Central Alabama.

In a Facebook post, Meadows congratulated Ensler and said that while she doesn’t know what’s next for her, she plans to continue to fight to improve education for all children.

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