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(WGHP) — FOX8 is proud to introduce its new North Carolina political program, “Swing State” with Mark Walker and Odell Cleveland.

Mark was your Republican congressman for six years in the U.S. House of Representatives. Odell is a Democratic activist and the founder of the Welfare Reform Liason Project.

These two pastors have different politics and beliefs, and, on “Swing State,” they come together to hash out the issues of the day from both sides of the aisle.

Watch “Swing State” at 11 p.m. EST on Sundays only on FOX8.

Swing State (WGHP)

Who is Mark Walker?

Former Congressman Mark Walker (Submitted photo)

Mark Walker started his career in finance before transitioning into vocational ministry at age 30 earning his degree in theology followed by a 16-year career as a pastor. In 2014, Walker stepped away from ministry and made an improbable but successful run for Congress, being sworn in January 2015 and serving three terms through January 2021. 

Congressman Walker became the first member in congressional history at the end of their first term to be elected as chairman of the largest caucus in Congress—a position previously held by Vice President Pence and Congressman Jim Jordan.

In 2018, Walker was elected as vice chair of the conference, the 4th highest-ranking position among Republican members. Congressman Walker served on Education, Administration and House Oversight Committees and was the starting pitcher for the annual charity baseball game at Washington National stadium. In 2019, Walker was appointed to ranking member of Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism on the Committee on Homeland Security’s subcommittee. He was also co-chair of the bicameral prayer caucus.

Who is Rev. Odell Cleveland?

Rev. Odell Cleveland (Submitted photo)

Rev. Odell Cleveland founded America’s first faith-based community action agency, the Welfare Reform Liaison Project, two decades ago in Greensboro. The project grew into a $100 million nonprofit organization with an outsized impact on North Carolina’s most marginalized. He handed over the reins of the Welfare Reform Liaison Project in 2013.

Odell received a Master’s in Divinity with honors from the Hood Theological Seminary in 1997. He received a B.S. in Management from the University of South Carolina at Spartanburg in 1984. Currently, Odell is responsible for the day-to-day management of Greensboro’s 7,000-member Mt. Zion Baptist Church. Odell is also president of Cal Tee Solutions LLC, which for the past decade has served as a conduit for his business solutions to social ills.

He has co-chaired three interfaith missions to Israel, co-sponsored by the Greensboro Jewish Federation and the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro.  He has chaired several Boards of Directors in areas related to housing and education.  He has served on numerous nonprofit boards and committees including the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, The United Way of Greater Greensboro and the Greensboro Opera. In 2021, his leadership in the community response to COVID-19 has resulted in his participation in the White House COVID-19 Virtual Roundtable for NC Leaders. In 2022, Odell was one of 12 people selected nationally by AARP to receive the Local Hero’s Award for his community leadership efforts related to caregiving.