As a child in the town of Holly Springs, Miss., Cherrish Pryor was inspired by the political passion of her grandmother, who tirelessly worked polling stations and crisscrossed the county registering new voters. “If there was a political rally in Holly Springs,” says Pryor, “she was there.”
Pryor never forgot her grandmother’s political fervor. While at Indiana University as an undergraduate, Pryor advocated for diversity on her campus. After graduating, she volunteered at the NAACP in Fort Wayne, and she later interned in the office of state Rep. Bill Crawford, whom she calls “truly a history maker.” (When Crawford retired in 2012, he was the longest-serving African-American in state office anywhere in the country.)
After two years on the Indianapolis City Council, Pryor was elected to the Indiana House in 2008. Young people are often the focus of her legislative work. A bill Pryor helped pass covered a gap in health care for young adults released from state correctional facilities. Another bill established an education department fund to battle state dropout rates. As the ranking minority member on the local government committee, Pryor has a keen sense of the issues that impact cities, towns and counties throughout her state.