Offbeat: Pelosi creates leadership position for Barbara Lee - PressFrom - US
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OffbeatPelosi creates leadership position for Barbara Lee

10:40  01 december  2018
10:40  01 december  2018 Source:   politico.com

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Barbara Lee has long been on the political periphery, but the party may now be coming around to her. After finishing two votes shy of breaking into House The 72-year old Lee has been in Congress for 20 years and praises the caucus’ longtime leaders , including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi .

Barbara Lee ’s ascension to a significant leadership post would be a signal to grassroots activists that the “I am proud to support Barbara Lee for conference chair. I will be rallying my colleagues in the progressive caucus Caucus chair is the fourth-ranking leadership position , behind leader ( Pelosi )

Pelosi creates leadership position for Barbara Lee© Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi created a new position for fellow California Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee after many of their colleagues were disappointed that Lee fell just short in her run for caucus chair.

Rep. Barbara Lee will be joining the House Democratic leadership team, filling a key void for the caucus after its elections earlier this week left the group without a woman of color in the top ranks.

Lee is expected to fill a new position being created by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to oversee the Steering and Policy Committee, the panel that determines committee assignments for Democrats. Pelosi’s decision expands leadership of the panel from two co-chairs to three.

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Barbara Lee said Thursday that she is considering running for a Democratic leadership position in the House after its current occupant was defeated in a If Lee won the party’s fourth-highest position , chair of the House Democratic Caucus, she would be the first African American woman to serve in the

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The decision to elevate Lee comes as a group of House Democrats, disappointed by both Lee’s narrow loss in the race for caucus chair earlier this week and that lack of a woman of color in leadership, was planning to ask Pelosi to do just that.

Pelosi is recommending Lee, a liberal stalwart from California’s East Bay, to serve alongside Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), the panel’s two current leaders. Lee is currently a vice-chair of the committee.

The committee has to officially vote to approve Pelosi’s recommendations, but it is expected to do so soon.

“The leaders and members of the Steering and Policy Committee reflect the diversity, dynamism and integrity of our historic new House Democratic Majority,” Pelosi said in a statement obtained by POLITICO Friday evening.

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Barbara Lee speaks at the Netroots Nation annual conference for political progressives in August Crowley was widely seen as a contender to replace House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and in Lee ’s advancement to a leadership position would also demonstrate an understanding that

Barbara Lee , one of the most outspoken progressive voices in Congress, formally launched her campaign Monday to chair the House Democratic Caucus Lee , at 72, also says she recognizes critics in the party who have criticized House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi ’s continued leadership and who

“As a leading African American woman with a place at the decision table, the appointment of Congresswoman Lee is even more meaningful as we mark the birthday of her friend: the trailblazing Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm.”

Pelosi’s recommendations cap a whirlwind week for Democrats as current and incoming members met to select the leadership team that will take them into the majority next year. Pelosi overwhelming won the Democratic nomination for speaker on Wednesday and must win 218 votes on the House floor Jan. 3.

The caucus also picked a slew of other leaders as Democrats prepare to welcome their most diverse freshmen class in history. But as the week came to a close there was one glaring oversight to its members — not one woman of color would be representing Democrats in leadership.

“A number of us as women of color are saying there needs to be a leadership role created for Barbara Lee and we need to have a woman of color in a role in leadership,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said in an interview Thursday. “I really believe that’s critical and I think it’s a problem that we don’t.”

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Barbara Lee . The 11-term congresswoman is trying to become the first African American woman ever elected to either party’s House hierarchy. Although it’s gotten less attention than San Francisco Rep. Nancy Pelosi ’s quest for the speakership, the campaign for Democratic caucus chair has become the

Barbara Lee was first elected to Congress two decades ago, as an unapologetically left-wing activist Lee , whose district covers Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville, ran for another leadership position in If Lee and Pelosi , her colleague across the bay in San Francisco, both win their leadership races

The Democrats were planning to ask Pelosi to find a home for Lee on the leadership team, including the possibility of creating a new Steering co-chair in the coming days. But Pelosi beat them to the punch, offering Lee the position during a one-on-one meeting in her office Friday.

Before Pelosi’s announcement, several members said it was the right thing to do, noting Pelosi created a new job for Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.). The move allowed Cicilline to find a landing spot in leadership while dropping his bid against Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.) for assistant Democratic leader.

Cicilline was unanimously elected chairman to oversee a policy committee that already has three co-chairs. This Congress, Cicilline served as one of the three co-chairs on that panel, the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee.

Lee backers also said her appointment would help with the optics of a caucus that boasts about its diversity — there will be two African-American men, several women, a Latino, an LGBT member and an Asian-American man on next year’s team — yet wasn’t going to have one African-American, Latina or Asian woman in their top ranks.

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Barbara Lee has announced that she is interested in the leadership position that will be vacated in January when Joe Crowley leaves office, the Chair of the House Democratic Caucus. By the way: her last name is Pelosi . If you call Obama Obama and Schumer Schumer, you should call her Pelosi .

“The women of this country, anchored by the black women of this country, put Democrats in office,” said Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.), a Lee backer. “I feel like our top leadership should reflect the diversity of these people.”

Even with the decision to appoint Lee, her job as steering co-chair is much more behind the scenes compared to caucus chairman or some of the other positions on Democrats’ sprawling leadership team.

Lee lost to Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) by 10 votes during the closely watched caucus chairman contest Wednesday, prompting outcry from her supporters who lobbed claims of ageism given the gulf between the two members. Lee is 72 while Jeffries is 48.

Jeffries made a case for generational change in his pitch to fellow lawmakers. And with the top three leaders nearing 80, his supporters see Jeffries’ job as caucus chairman as the perfect launching pad to potentially becoming the first African-American speaker.

Lee, meanwhile, made an appeal to unity before the vote, telling lawmakers that as a woman of color with unassailable progressive bonafides, she would help provide what was a critical missing link in the House Democratic leadership team. Had she been elected caucus chair, Lee would have been the first African-American woman to serve in House leadership.

The current leadership team has one Latina — Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) is the Democratic Caucus vice chair. But Sanchez dropped out of the race for caucus chair against Lee and Jeffries earlier this month after her husband was indicted on federal charges.

Another woman of color, Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.), lost her bid for caucus representative, a leadership post reserved for a member who has served five terms or less. She was defeated by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a liberal who was backed by the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

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