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Barbara Lee Secures Main Progressive Endorsements Specific Occasions

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September 19, 2023

The California Senate candidate has acquired the backing of Our Revolution, as high Congressional Progressive Caucus leaders argue that her advocacy for peace and justice distinguishes her as a candidate.

Consultant Barbara Lee speaks throughout a information convention on the US Capitol on August 12, 2022.

(Photographer: Ting Shen / Bloomberg)

Joseph Geevarghese, the veteran union organizer and financial justice activist who performed an important function in launching the “Battle for 15” motion to boost wages, remembers the irritating days when high Democrats hesitated to assist requires doubling the minimal wage.

“The Democratic institution wasn’t with us and there have been only a few members of Congress who have been prepared to face with the employees again in 2015,” remembers Geevarghese. “Bernie Sanders was there. And, in fact, Barbara Lee.”

That’s one of many causes Geevarghese, who now serves as government director of Our Revolution, the nationwide grassroots group shaped by Sanders backers after the 2016 presidential marketing campaign, is so smitten by her candidacy for California’s open US Senate seat. “On the finish of the day,” Geevarghese says, “Barbara Lee is the motion candidate.”

That’s additionally why, tonight, Our Revolution will endorse Lee, swinging its community of grassroots activists and an inventory of greater than 1.1 million California supporters behind the marketing campaign that the congresswoman identifies as “a march for justice for all.”

The endorsement from Our Revolution can be rolled out at a city corridor assembly Tuesday night, that includes former Congressional Progressive Caucus cochairs Mark Pocan and Keith Ellison; Massachusetts Consultant Ayanna Pressley, a member of the Squad who has labored carefully with Lee on abortion rights points; and California Consultant Ro Khanna, who was as soon as urged to make the Senate race himself however is now certainly one of Lee’s most outspoken backers.

The city corridor assembly is meant to determine Lee because the clearest selection for motion progressives in a race that options plenty of different outstanding Democrats, together with California US Representatives Adam Schiff and Katie Porter.

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Cover of October 2/9, 2023, Issue

Pocan, who has served with the three Home members who’re working and who speaks properly of Schiff and Porter, explains that he’s endorsing Lee within the race as a result of the previous aide to progressive US Consultant Ron Dellums (D-Calif.) has “been essentially the most dedicated progressive in Congress. Interval. There’s no voice within the US Home that’s been extra constant in standing up for progressive values.”

Ellison, a former consultant from Minnesota who now serves as that state’s lawyer basic, talked about Lee’s 2001 vote in opposition to giving the Bush-Cheney administration a clean test to launch an countless “battle on terror,” her constant assist for financial, social, and racial justice, and her effectiveness as a member of the highly effective Home Committee on Appropriations. “In an age when Individuals bemoan the shortage of integrity in authorities, Barbara Lee stands out because the shining instance of what it means to be trustworthy, honest, and truthful—even when you need to stand alone,” says the lawyer basic. “Barbara Lee shouldn’t be solely good with the sound chew however can be a wonderful progressive legislator who will get issues accomplished.”

The endorsements—together with backing she has acquired from Congressional Progressive Caucus chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, the Working Households Occasion, and iconic figures similar to United Farm Employees union co-founder Dolores Huerta—matter for Lee at some extent when her marketing campaign trails behind these of Schiff and Porter on the subject of fundraising. In accordance with July experiences from the campaigns, Schiff had $30 million available for the marketing campaign, whereas Porter had $10.4 million and Lee, who began her marketing campaign after the opposite two contenders, had $1.4 million.

Whereas polls present Schiff and Porter better off in a nonetheless fluid contest the place no contender will get near-majority assist, Lee says assist from Our Revolution has the potential to supply an necessary enhance for her marketing campaign, given previous victories for candidates backed by the group. “We’ve proven the world what grassroots energy seems like by organizing from the bottom up and electing progressive champions which are altering the face of politics as we all know it,” says Lee.

Whether or not that may occur in 2024 in California stays to be seen.

The state will virtually definitely elect a Democratic US senator subsequent 12 months. Californians gave Joe Biden a 5 million–vote win over Donald Trump in 2020, and each statewide official is a member of the president’s celebration. However there’s nonetheless a debate about which sort of Democrat will change Dianne Feinstein, who’s leaving the Senate after having served for greater than three a long time as a Democratic insider with centrist, and sometimes corporate-friendly, leanings.

The March 5 open major contest to determine potential replacements for Feinstein might properly produce a November 2024 race during which a pair of Democrats compete in opposition to each other. California, not like most states, has a legislation that enables the highest two major finishers—irrespective of their celebration affiliation—to face each other within the fall. In consequence, whereas critical Republican contenders are in brief provide, the record of Democrats is lengthy and has produced the uncommon circumstance of three outstanding US Home members working in opposition to each other.

Schiff, who performed a high-profile function in Trump’s first impeachment, is backed by former Home speaker Nancy Pelosi and far of the state’s congressional delegation, together with progressives similar to US Representatives Ted Lieu and Mark Takano. Porter, who has gained a nationwide following for her takedowns of company wrongdoers, has the backing of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, in addition to the Progressive Change Marketing campaign Committee, a Washington-based group that has labored carefully with Warren through the years and has endorsed key progressive candidates throughout the nation.

However Khanna argues that Lee is required within the Senate for a wide range of causes. “We don’t have a single African American lady in america Senate,” for one factor. “She would fill that function.” He, like others, additionally factors to Lee’s lengthy document of taking courageous stands in opposition to militarism, and says, “She is the strongest anti-war voice within the Congress and we’d like that voice within the Senate.”

Like the opposite members who’ve spoken up, Khanna says he isn’t a lot opposing Schiff and Porter as supporting Lee. “I’ve respect for them,” Khanna stated, after making his endorsement a number of months in the past. “However Barbara Lee is a singular voice.”

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John Nichols

John Nichols is a nationwide affairs correspondent for The Nation. He has written, cowritten, or edited over a dozen books on matters starting from histories of American socialism and the Democratic Occasion to analyses of US and world media techniques. His newest, cowritten with Senator Bernie Sanders, is the New York Occasions bestseller It is OK to Be Indignant About Capitalism.

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