Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D) endorsed Sen. Kamala Harris (D) for her 2020 presidential aspirations.
Lee, the former Congressional Black Caucus chair, and revered as “the House’s lefty conscience” made the announcement Thursday. The Democrat will be California co-chair of Harris’ presidential campaign. She explained why Harris was her choice to lead the country to CNN.
“Watching Kamala’s career in the East Bay and San Francisco for 20 years, I’ve witnessed her deep passion for justice and opportunity and I know she will be a president truly of the people, by the people, and for the people,” Lee said in her statement.
“She will increase working Americans’ incomes, expand health insurance to more Americans and restore dignity and responsibility to the Oval Office. She is a leader uniquely qualified to bring us together and mobilize a movement of Americans to return power to the people.”
Lee also shared her support on social media. She tweeted a picture of her and Harris together with a caption that the California politician would be a president for all. She added that Harris has spent her life in a pursuit of equality, fairness, and dignity for all.
The endorsement is a boon for Harris as she hopes to solidify her progressive credentials with those wary of her past as a prosecutor. She has been routinely criticized for heavy handed tactics as a district attorney in San Francisco and later attorney general. An activist declared that she had terrorized Black communities by strengthening the prison system and upholding wrongful convictions and placing parents in jail for children who routinely skipped school.
In January, Harris insisted that she stood by her previous decisions during a visit to Howard University, her alma mater.
“I can tell you of the cases where I really regret that we were not able to charge somebody that molested a child but the evidence wasn’t there. There are cases … where there were folks who made a decision in my office who did not consult with me and I wish they had. But again, I take full responsibility for those decisions,” Harris said.
Lee’s endorsement is also notable in that she is the first CBC member to pledge support. Sen. Cory Booker (D) is the other declared Black candidate in the presidential race to become the Democratic nominee in 2020. Locking up the Black vote is crucial in many of the Southern states. Harris will be traveling to South Carolina over the weekend to make an impression on the voters there ahead of the Super Tuesday primary next year.
Read Lee’s endorsement of Harris in full below.
“When I was a young single mother attending Mills College, I invited Shirley Chisholm to come to speak on campus and was inspired to later work on her presidential campaign. I threw all my energy and support behind a visionary Black woman committed to making America work for all its people. Shirley set us on a path toward progress, and now Senator Kamala Harris picks up the baton. As just the third African American woman from a major party to run for President, I am so proud to endorse her candidacy as she continues this fight for equality, fairness, and dignity for all Americans. Watching Kamala’s career in the East Bay and San Francisco for 20 years, I’ve witnessed her deep passion for justice and opportunity, and I know she will be a president truly of the people, by the people, and for the people. She will increase working Americans’ incomes, expand health insurance to more Americans, and restore dignity and responsibility to the Oval Office. She is a leader uniquely qualified to bring us together and mobilize a movement of Americans to return power to the people.”