The Obama Effect continues. As of last month, a record five African-Americans lead state legislative bodies, and the number of Black state lawmakers has reached record levels, according to USA Today. Some political insiders say voter attitudes have changed dramatically towards race and it certainly shows. The number of Black state legislators has risen from 401 in 1986 to a record 628, accounting for 9 percent of state lawmakers, reports the National Conference of State Legislatures. State legislatures are often stepping stones to higher political office.—BB