Congress needs new leadership prepared to meet the challenges of today.
In two weeks, on November 28th, Democratic members of Congress are going to vote for their next Speaker. Before the newly elected members of Congress are sworn in, before they can have a say in their leadership, the most powerful Democrat in Congress will be selected. While most of the press and pundit class expect former Speaker and current Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to be reinstated to her former position, we at Brand New Congress believe it’s time for a change. And according to a recent Gallup poll, a majority of Democratic voters agree.
Congress needs a leader with moral clarity, who will fight for the issues most Americans care about, and who has the will to stand up to those who would abuse their power. That leader is Rep. Barbara Lee of California’s 13th district.
Last Tuesday’s election showed a decisive shift by voters toward not just Democrats, but towards a new type of leader up and down the ballot. Many records were broken in this year’s midterm elections where women and minorities took center stage — sending out a clear message that the hateful, racist rhetoric of the GOP will not be tolerated. At a time when marginalized communities are under constant attack, in a climate charged with racial violence and rising white nationalism in the ranks of the far right, we need people of color to lead the way.
Congress needs a leader who understands the struggles of everyday Americans. As the representative for the East Bay Area of Oakland and Alameda County, Rep. Lee worked her way through college as a single mother and eventually broke records by becoming the first woman to represent her Congressional district. Even today Lee has one of the lowest estimated net worths in Congress, and is much closer to the average American’s experience than Rep. Pelosi (the 6th wealthiest member of the house), with a net worth in the hundreds of millions.
But most important in this era is the need for a leader who will fight the abuse of power at the highest levels of our government. In 2001, in the wake of the September 11th attacks, Congress passed a litany of bills authorizing new powers for the Executive Branch under the auspices of fighting terrorism. In that charged climate, Barbara Lee was the ONLY member of Congress to vote against the Authorized Use of Military Force (AUMF), a bill which greatly expanded the power of the President to wage war without Congressional approval or oversight. She continues to challenge that law today, when many of her fellow Democrats in Congress remain silent against these abuses while accepting millions in PAC donations from the military industrial complex.
This year’s election saw a wave of new young voters energized by candidates leading the way in the fight for universal healthcare, a living wage, economic investment and justice. She has consistently led the way on these issues. The Speaker of the House sets the agenda, and Rep. Lee’s courage to go against the grain of wealthier and better-connected Democrats is just what’s needed in this critical leadership role. She is aligned with the new voters of the Democratic Party, and she stands for the issues the majority of Americans support. Rep. Lee is the clear choice for Speaker, and she has our full endorsement.
Join us, along with The Digital Left, in endorsing the leader Congress needs: Barbara Lee.