Rep. Barbara Lee has announced her run for U.S. Senate now that Diane Feinstein appears to have officially declared she won’t run in 2024.
“Today I am proud to announce my candidacy for U.S. Senate. I’ve never backed down from doing what’s right. And I never will. Californians deserve a strong, progressive leader who has delivered real change,” wrote Lee on her social media accounts.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee has been representing California’s 12th District (formerly 13th) since 1998. She is the highest-ranking African American woman appointed to Democratic Leadership, serving as Co-Chair of the Policy and Steering Committee. She also serves on the Budget Committee and the powerful Appropriations Committee, which oversees all federal government spending.
As a single mother raising two sons, Congresswoman Lee attended Mills College and received public assistance while building a better life for her family. As president of Mills College’s Black Student Union, she invited Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to Congress, to speak on campus. As a result of this meeting, Congresswoman Lee registered to vote for the first time and worked on Congresswoman Chisholm’s historic presidential campaign, including serving as her delegate at the 1972 Democratic National Convention in Miami, FL.
Congresswoman Lee received her Masters of Social Work from the University of California, Berkeley, specializing in psychiatric social work. During her graduate work, Congresswoman Lee founded the Community Health Alliance for Neighborhood Growth and Education (CHANGE, Inc.) which provided mental health services to many of the East Bay’s most vulnerable individuals.
Will you become a founding donor of my campaign by donating by midnight tonight? I need you to stand with me on the front lines in the fight ahead to build a progressive future for all.https://t.co/2vThNYFMJh— Barbara Lee (@BarbaraLeeForCA) February 23, 2023
In 1975, Congresswoman Lee joined the staff of Congressman Ron Dellums, where she eventually rose from an intern to chief of staff. During the eleven years she worked for Congressman Dellums, Congresswoman Lee was one of only a few women and persons of color to hold a senior position on Capitol Hill.
After leaving Congressman Dellums’ office in 1987, Congresswoman Lee founded a facilities management company that grew to employ over 500 people. As a small business owner in the East Bay, Congresswoman Lee worked with people from all walks of life.
In 1990, Congresswoman Lee was elected to the California State Assembly, where she served until 1996 when she was elected to the State Senate. As a California legislator, Congresswoman Lee authored 67 bills and resolutions that were signed into law by Republican Governor Pete Wilson. This legislation addressed a wide spectrum of issues, including public safety, education, healthcare, and environmental protections. In the legislature, Congresswoman Lee was an early champion of LGBT issues and authored the 1995 California Schools Hate Crimes Reduction Act. As the first African American woman elected to the State Senate from Northern California, Congresswoman Lee created and presided over the California Commission on the Status of African American Males and the California Legislative Black Caucus, while working to defeat the punitive “three strikes law.” Congresswoman Lee also served as a strong advocate for women in the legislature, where she authored and passed the first California Violence Against Women Act and served as a member of the California Commission on the Status of Women.
Currently, Congresswoman Lee serves on the Budget Committee and the powerful Appropriations Committee, which oversees all federal government spending. She serves on three subcommittees (Ranking Member, State and Foreign Operations; Labor, Health and Human Services, Education; and Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration) of the Appropriations Committee. In January 2021, she became the first African-American to chair the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs.
Congresswoman Lee is the highest-ranking African American woman appointed to Democratic Leadership, serving as Co-Chair of the Policy and Steering Committee. As Co-Chair, Rep. Lee works to ensure that committees reflect the diversity, dynamism, and integrity of the Democratic Caucus. She also works to advance the policies that comprise the Democratic “For the People” agenda. In addition, she currently serves as the Chair of the Majority Leader’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity, Co-Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus, and Co-Chair of the Cannabis Caucus. She is the former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus (111th Congress) and co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (109th & 110th Congresses).
Source: Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s website.