Progressive Rep. Barbara Lee announces reelection campaign for CA District 13

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Barbara Lee, congresswoman for California’s 13th congressional district, is running for reelection in 2020.

Lee, who received her master’s degree from UC Berkeley, has garnered a reputation among constituents as an anti-war progressive who speaks out against international military conflict. Lee routinely wins reelection in the 13th district by capturing 80% or 90% of the vote and is currently serving her 12th term in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“There is no public official I support more,” said Berkeley City Councilmember Kate Harrison in an email. “She was the lone vote against giving President Bush the authority to declare the misguided war on terror after 9/11. She stood courageously for reforming the criminal justice system before it was popular, for protecting the social safety net and for redirecting war spending toward stateside domestic needs.”

Now, Lee is at the forefront of another anti-war effort: to stop President Donald Trump’s military escalation with Iran.

She played a crucial role in two bills passed in the House of Representatives in January that limit the president’s ability to engage in military hostilities. Lee sponsored one of the bills, which would revoke the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq, a resolution used by the administration to justify the escalation in the region.

Lee has represented the 13th district, which encapsulates the northern portion of Alameda County, including Berkeley and Oakland, since 2013. Before this, she had represented California’s 9th congressional district since 1998 and served in the state legislature between 1991 and 1998.

During her time representing the 13th district, Lee has served on several committees, including the budget and appropriations committees. She served as the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus for two years and is a founding member of the LGBT Equality Caucus.

“She has been an excellent advocate for the people of our district and the people on this campus,” said Sarah Abdeshahian, president of Cal Berkeley Democrats, in an email. “We are so proud to support Barbara Lee for re-election and we look forward to seeing all that she will continue to accomplish for the people of our district.”

Lee is the lone contender for the Democratic nomination in the March primary election. In the general election, she is likely to face Nikka Piterman, another UC Berkeley graduate and the only Republican candidate running in the 13th district.

Piterman’s platform includes issues such as tax breaks for all Americans, switching over to the metric system and support for splitting California into two independent states, according to his campaign website.

“Congresswoman Lee has been an outspoken and sometimes lonely voice for progress and peace in Washington for years,” said City Councilmember Rigel Robinson in a text message. “I am enthusiastic that she is running for re-election once again.”

Contact Jake Souza at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @jsouza_dailycal.