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Online progressive activists with The Digital Left are announcing a campaign to draft and elect Representative Barbara Lee to be the next speaker of the House. Within 48 hours of polls closing in the midterm elections, the group, alongside The Humanist Report, has gathered more than 5,000 signatures on an online petition calling on Democratic members of the 117th Congress to elect Rep. Lee as speaker of the House.
Today Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed Jovanka Beckles for Assembly District 15 following a weekend rally in Berkeley. “While in Berkeley, I had the chance to meet with Jovanka Beckles, and I was impressed by her commitment to progressive values. In the state Assembly, she will fight for Medicare for all, a living wage for all California workers, environmental justice and criminal justice reform. I’m proud to support Jovanka Beckles in the 15th Assembly district.”
Two underlying dynamics are at work in the East Bay race to represent Assembly District 15 in Sacramento. One is a contest between a traditional big-money campaign and an insurgent, volunteer-driven, grassroots campaign. The other is a subterranean racial dynamic. The campaign between out Black lesbian, eight-year Richmond City Council member Jovanka Beckles, 55, and campaign professional Buffy Wicks, 41, is increasingly testy. The Assembly seat was previously occupied by Tony Thurmond. If Beckles is not elected, the East Bay African American community will have no representative in Sacramento.
This year’s primary contest to replace Tony Thurmond as Assembly District 15 representative in Sacramento produced what one local political observer called “the strongest field in California legislative history.” The “all-star” cast of talented public servants included six serving members of East Bay city councils or elected boards. Most of those who did not succeed in their primary campaigns have since rallied around one of their own, Richmond City Council member Jovanka Beckles, a leader of the Richmond Progressive Alliance.