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California Senate Race About to Grow

Bay Area Congresswoman Barbara Lee, a 12-term House incumbent, has a response for rivals arguing that she is a part of the status quo in Washington: experience matters.

“There are many issues that I’ve been involved in over the years, based on my experiences that I know that I can bring to the Senate that no other candidate has had because I’m a Black woman — a woman of color — who’s had unique experiences that the Senate is lacking,” Lee said in an interview with NBCLA. 

A top competitor in the race, Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine), launched her campaign in a video announcement by stating that, “it’s time for new leadership in the U.S Senate.” 

However, Lee contends that her decades in Congress has positioned her to be the most qualified and experienced candidate. Lee was first elected to Congress in 1998 after serving in the California legislature, and previously chaired the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Progressive Caucus. 

With there being no Black women currently represented in the Senate, the 76-year-old Congresswoman hopes to change that. She’s expected to announce her candidacy for U.S. Senate later this month. 

Lee recognized that passing legislation in a Republican-controlled House would be challenging, but says that she is working with Republicans to re-authorize legislation such as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) bill. Lee drafted the bill in 2003 and worked with President George W. Bush to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic. 

“It’s an uphill battle, but we’re going to fight until we win,” Lee said. 

The Congresswoman’s sole “no” vote against the war in Afghanistan following the September 11th attacks, has been a defining moment in her career and says that her views on national security and peace are of value. She has also strongly advocated for extended access to abortion and has made numerous attempts to repeal the Hyde Amendment—which restricts federal funds to cover the cost of an abortion except when a women’s life is at risk or in cases of rape and incest. 

“I was resisting a right-wing agenda way, way, way before Donald Trump took office,” Lee said. “I know what resistance is, but I also know how to come together, unified to make things better and make life better for millions of people.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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