When Barbara Lee stood alone in voting against granting former president George W. Bush essentially a blank check to engage troops in overseas combat directly after the Sept. 11 attacks, she proved her ability to stand by her principles even in the most isolating circumstances.
The East Bay deserves another two years of courageous leadership, and that’s exactly what it would get from Lee — for the 10th time around.
Since 1998, Lee has pushed the right kind of legislation in Washington. On the budget committee, Lee has emphasized the need to extend Pell Grants to students studying over the summer in order to strengthen and broaden the government support given to low-income students.
And Lee’s leadership extends far beyond the platforms she pushes. She is a consistent voice for racial justice — an issue that hits home in the East Bay, where racial disparities in class, education and incarceration rates abound.
She is also supporting a bill that would expand the U.S. Department of Justice’s ability to prosecute police officers who use unnecessary force. It’s the kind of reform that communities in the East Bay have demanded for years.
She’s also working to reform other aspects of the criminal justice system. During an interview with the Senior Editorial Board, Lee emphasized the need for grand jury reform to make grand juries less likely to unfairly side with police officers who have committed injustices. Such reform would lead to a more equitable justice system, and we’re proud that our representative has been fighting for this kind of change consistently in Washington.
Legislative representatives must strike a balance between emphasizing their specific constituencies and acting to benefit the entire nation. Lee strikes this balance brilliantly.
For instance, income inequality in the East Bay is among the worst in the country, so Lee’s focus on that issue successfully localizes a national problem.
The fact that her opponent, Republican Sue Caro, has no easily accessible campaign literature and continually shows support for Donald Trump only makes the decision easier.
As pollsters across the board expect Democratic gains in the House of Representatives, with a few even predicting a majority — though we recognize that’s still unlikely — it’s even more important to have a strong progressive voice pushing the party further to the left.
Lee’s commitment to important issues, including climate change, police brutality and income inequality, make her the ideal East Bay representative. She has spent every day of nearly 20 years earning your vote.
Endorsements represent the majority opinion of the Senior Editorial Board as written by the opinion editor.