Keeda Haynes

U.S. House, Tennessee 5

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Currently, Keeda is the Legal Advisor at Free Hearts, a non-profit organization. Prior to that, she served her community for the past 6 ½ years as an Assistant Public Defender. She devoted all of her determination, energy and passion into fighting for her clients, in the courtroom and in the community.

Keeda understood the inequalities that her clients were facing because she was not just a defender, but had also been a defendant. For her alleged involvement in a drug distribution ring, she spent almost four years in federal prison for a crime she did not commit. Eventually, she was re-sentenced to the mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years. She was finally released from federal prison on December 1, 2006.

Facing numerous barriers to re-entry, two years after her release, Keeda enrolled into law school at the Nashville School of Law. She graduated in 2012, passed the bar exam, but had to clear the character and fitness examination. She cleared the character and fitness inquiry after a show cause hearing and became a practicing attorney in Nashville, Tennessee in December of 2012.

In addition to her work as a Public Defender, Keeda served her community on the Juvenile Justice Realignment Task Force. She has received several awards, and she is increasingly active in her community as the Legal Advisor with Free Hearts. She continues to advocate on the behalf of her clients and the community, focusing on criminal justice reform, incarcerated women’s rights, voter restoration and various other issues.

As a former Public Defender, Keeda advocated passionately on behalf of her clients every day in the courtroom. She stood up for them in the face of a racist system that sought to dehumanize and strip them of their dignity and basic rights. She was never afraid to address the hard issues and she refused to settle for anything less than a fair and just outcome.

Keeda is running for Congress, and she will take this same level of passion and determination to Washington to advocate on behalf of the community of District 5. She will stand alongside citizens, fighting daily for access to quality health care, affordable housing and criminal justice reform. She will provide them with equitable access in government decision making and will make sure their voices are heard.

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