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August 9, 1938 |
Maurice, Louisiana, U.S.
|Political party||Democratic (Before 1984)
|Alma mater||Texas Southern University|
Ezola Broussard Foster (born August 9, 1938) is an African-American conservative political activist, writer, and politician. She is president of the interest group Black Americans for Family Values, author of the book What's Right for All Americans, and was the Reform Party candidate for Vice President in the U.S. presidential election of 2000, running with Patrick J. Buchanan, the party's presidential nominee. In April 2002, Foster left the Reform Party to join the Constitution Party.
Career and political activism
Foster was born and reared in Maurice in Vermilion Parish in southwestern Louisiana and earned a master's degree from Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas. In 1960, she moved to Los Angeles, California, where she was employed as a public high school teacher for thirty-three years—teaching typing, business courses, and sometimes English classes.
She had sought public office prior to 2000—as a Democrat in the 1970s and as a Republican candidate for California State Assembly in 1986. In the 1980s, she became an outspoken opponent of pornography, sex education, AIDS education and gay rights and founded "Black Americans for Family Values." She has been affiliated with the John Birch Society, founded after World War II by the late Robert W. Welch, Jr., to the dismay of Moderate Republicans. She was arrested in 1987 with several other women while disrupting the California state Republican convention to protest its recognition of the Log Cabin Club, an organization of gay Republicans. In 1992, she was a staunch defender of the police officers in the Rodney King beating case and organized a testimonial dinner for Laurence Powell, one of the convicted officers, in 1995.
In 1994, while teaching at Bell High School in Bell, California, Foster was a public advocate of Proposition 187, a California ballot initiative to deny government programs of social services, health care, and public education to illegal immigrants. Her position was extremely unpopular at the school where she taught, which was 90 percent Hispanic. In 1996, after she argued on PBS's MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour that illegal immigration was responsible for the low quality of Los Angeles schools, some of her colleagues at the school condemned her in an open letter. Two days later, she attended an anti-illegal-immigration rally where several of her supporters were attacked by members of the Progressive Labor Party, who allegedly wanted to harm Foster herself. Shortly thereafter, she left her job, which she calls a necessity resulting from her treatment at work. She went on speaking tours for the John Birch Society and took workers' compensation for an undisclosed mental disorder—which she describes as "stress" and "anxiety"—until her official retirement as a teacher in 1998.
Election of 2000
Pat Buchanan selected Foster as his running-mate after several other candidates such as Jim Traficant of Ohio and Teamsters Union president James P. Hoffa declined his offer. Foster, who had supported Buchanan's campaigns in 1992 and 1996, quit her own speaking tour to join the race. While Buchanan was hospitalized during part of the campaign, Foster was the ticket's mouthpiece, campaigning through television and radio appearances. This was the first time in history that an African-American had been nominated for Vice-President by a Federal Election Commission-recognized and federally funding political party, and the second time a woman had accomplished this (Democrat Geraldine Ferraro being the first).
Foster was chosen because of her conservative credentials and speaking ability; she called Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society social policy "Marxist". Buchanan critics saw her as an affirmative action selection because she had never held a political office and is African-American.
- Carlson, Peter. "Ezola Foster: Pat Buchanan's Far Right Hand." The Washington Post (Sept. 13, 2000)
- Issues2000.org – Some of Foster's campaign positions and quotations
- Foster, Ezola. "Let the Children be Children." National Minority Politics (August 31, 1995)
|Party political offices|
|Reform nominee for Vice President of the United States