The pastor of a Charlotte church had a big family event on Saturday: President Barack Obama nominated his sister to be the next U.S. attorney general.
Leonzo Lynch has been the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, on Sugar Creek Roadnear Mineral Springs Road in Derita, since 1997, according to the church’s website. Obama officially introduced the pastor’s sister, Loretta Lynch, as his nominee at a White House ceremony on Saturday. If confirmed, she would replace Eric Holder, who is stepping down.
Loretta Lynch, who is the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said members of her “wonderful family” attended the ceremony. She also praised her parents, who could not be there, saying their “every thought and sacrifice has always been with their children.”
The congregation at Ebenezer Baptist was buzzing about the nomination on Sunday, but church officials said Leonzo Lynch wasn’t available to comment.
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The Lynches grew up in Durham. Their mother, Lorine Lynch, was a school librarian; their father, Lorenzo Lynch, was a fourth-generation Baptist minister.
In his remarks Saturday, Obama said Loretta Lynch rode on her father’s shoulders to his church, where students would organize antisegregation boycotts. She was also inspired by stories about her grandfather, a 1930s sharecropper who helped people in the community who got in trouble with the law and had no other recourse under Jim Crow segregation laws, Obama said.
“Loretta has spent her life fighting for fair and equal justice that is the foundation of our democracy,” Obama said. “I can think of no better public servant to be our next attorney general.”
According to Ebenezer Baptist’s website, Leonzo Lynch received his bachelor of arts degree from UNC Greensboro, a master of divinity degree from Duke University and a doctor of ministry degree from the United Theological Seminary.
The website says he is a “noted national revivalist, speaker and lecturer.” He is also the vice president at-large of the General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, according to that organization’s website.
If confirmed, Loretta Lynch would be the first black woman to become attorney general. Some Republicans have said she should not face a confirmation hearing until next year, when the GOP takes control of the Senate after the midterm elections. Holder has faced strong criticism from Republicans in Congress over gun policy and other issues.