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Huntsville, Ala. (WHNT) – John Meredith of Meredith Advocacy has a long family history pertaining with the civil rights movement.  His father, James Meredith, made history as the first black man to go to the University of Mississippi in 1962.  This week John Meredith stopped by WHNT News 19 to give us his view on today’s political process.

John Meredith grew up in a family in the national spotlight.  Not only was his father the first black person to attend the University of Mississippi, he was the first to graduate from Ole Miss as well.  He explains what it was like to grow up in a politically charged household.  “What many people don’t realize about my father is that he was very interested in voting rights and participation in the public policy process,” claims Meredith.  “As many know, there was violence to get him registered at Ole Miss, and some people died.  During that whole Ole Miss ordeal my father was never physically harmed. However when he sought to increase voter registration among blacks in 1966 in the state of Mississippi, during a march from Memphis to Jackson, he was actually shot.  So as a child, you understand these two significant events.  You understand that public policy and the right to vote is probably a far more important asset rather than the educational component.  So within that, it instilled in me the desire to participate in the public policy process, and having grown up in a family where candidates for office, particularly governor of Mississippi always came by the house to court my father.  I grew up in a family that was politically active and for the lack of a better time was a political insider family.”

Over the years, the views of the different parties have changed.  As an independent that leans Republican, John Meredith has an interesting view-point to see these changes.  “There are very segmented portions within the Republican party. I have friends and acquaintances that fall in both camps, and I’ve been lucky enough in my career to be able to walk into both of those camps as well as the Democratic and Republican camps.” explains Meredith.  “One of the reasons I made the list you referenced earlier is in my advocacy I’ve always managed to present win-win scenarios.  So I was able to get things passed because I brought Democrats what they wanted, and I brought Republicans what they wanted.  Now that you want to have a Republican party that is wrapped up in ideology, no matter how good the deal is they don’t want to take it, and for someone that is in a position of governing, I find it very ironic that you are willing to turn your back on deals that were better than you’ve gotten in the last 40-years in order to advance an ideology that doesn’t allow you to govern.  I think one of the most significant things to come out of Paul Ryan’s mouth when he ascended to the speakership is that he wants to focus on governing, and I think that’s a wonderful step for the Republican party to now buckle down and try to govern this country like they should have been for the last decade or so.”

In recent years, lack of compromise in the government has become a big problem.  “The only way to govern is to compromise.  If you are unwilling to compromise then you shouldn’t be running for an office where you have to govern.” says Meredith.

View our entire conversation with John Meredith here in three parts: