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Black Republican who shunned DEI by identifying as 'American' says Dems' 'free pass' to minorities is over

Missouri state Rep. Justin Hicks says Democrats' "free pass" to minority voters is over as support for former President Donald Trump increases.

EXCLUSIVE: A Black Republican running for Congress is declaring an end to what he describes as Democrats' historic "free pass" to minority voters.

In an interview with Fox News Digital, Missouri state Rep. Justin Hicks, who became known last year for defiantly declaring he identified "as an American" during a heated debate with Democrats on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), said minority voters are beginning to wake up to the "false promises" fed to them by the opposite party.

Hicks, a candidate for Missouri's 3rd Congressional District, answered "I do" when asked if he had noticed the often talked about shift in support from minority voters toward former President Donald Trump and away from President Biden.

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"The Democrats have had a free pass with a lot of minority groups, but I think a lot of the minority groups are starting to realize that the Democrats have, pretty much, false promises that they're giving them," he said, adding that "Republican values," such as limited government, lower taxes, and "allowing you to live your life," were resonating with people from all different groups.

"I think, come November, we're going to see a big shift when it comes to minority groups," he said.

The struggle against racialized politics has been an ongoing battle for Hicks, who serves as the only non-White Republican in the Missouri House and has faced what he described as harassment from Democrats in the chamber because of his race.

He detailed the instance last year in which he received applause during a floor debate on a bill opposing state funds for DEI initiatives after he refused to give in to efforts by a Democrat to get him to name the ethnicity he identifies as. 

"I identify as an American," he said proudly.

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The exchange still rings loudly in Hicks' mind. 

"It was a shocker. It took me back when that question was asked to me, because that's not the country I fought for," he told Fox, alluding to his time in the U.S. Army and deploying to the Middle East.

"That's not the country that I fight every single day to ensure that we protect — one where we're identifying each other based on arbitrary lines such as the color of your skin, or how you look, instead of who you are as in your character," he added.

Hicks joined the Army at 18 years old and served for six years, an experience he says shaped his political views, and showed him the importance of building America's military and maintaining its standing in the world.

"We really are a beacon of hope for so many different countries out there, and we have to remember that. I think we fail to realize that, as Americans, a lot of times, we get so caught up in what's going on inside the country that we don't actually look outside and see how blessed we are," he said. 

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"We need to ensure that we're protecting those things … making sure that we're funding the military appropriately, making sure that we're pushing back against a lot of the aggression that's going on with China right now," he added.

Hicks said his top priority, if elected, would be to advocate for a balanced budget in order to alleviate inflationary pressures on Americans, and avoid "passing the buck" of extravagant debt to younger generations. 

Included in that is his 1-year-old daughter, Liberty, who he credited as the main reason he decided to run for Congress.

"The America that she's growing up in is one where we have a lot of selfish leaders here in Congress that care more about doing political theater than actually delivering results here for Americans … where our freedoms are in jeopardy a lot of times, and many aspects that make us uniquely American are in jeopardy," he said. 

Hicks faces a crowded Republican primary field, including two well-funded Republicans in Bob Onder and Kurt Schaefer. The winner of the primary is widely expected to win the November general election as analysts rate the race as either "solid" or "safe" Republican.

The primary will be held on Aug. 6.

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

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