Oakland – 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.

At Berkeley Community Theater on Oct. 27, 2018, 10 days before the 2018 election, 3,500 people cheered for Bernie Sanders, who came to support the re-election of Congresswoman Barbara Lee and the candidacy of Jovanka Beckles for Assembly District 15. Sanders said he and Lee have been working hand in hand in the fight for progressive causes, reports Berkeleyside. “What Barbara Lee has been fighting for is a change in our national priorities,” said Sanders. “Instead of giving a tax break to millionaires, instead of feeding the military-industrial complex, we are going to make sure public schools are the best in the world.” – Photo: Luke Thibault

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.

Barbara Lee represents California’s 13th district and has served in the House of Representatives since 1998. She first received national attention immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks when she cast the sole dissenting vote against the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF).

“What we need now more than ever are courageous leaders who know what it means to stand on the correct side of history,” said Harpreet Chima, lead organizer with the Digital Left. “In a time when the president is making erratic foreign policy choices and calling for ever increasing military spending, the next speaker of the House must be someone who can stand up for peace. There is no one better prepared for this challenge than Barbara Lee.”

Chima also points out that Barbara Lee’s election as speaker would be in line with the numerous demographic firsts in the 117th Congress, noting, “One clear lesson of the midterms is that the voters want Congress to mirror the diversity of the American people. Electing a woman of color as speaker would go a long way to show that the Democratic party is listening.”

If elected, Barbara Lee would be the first person of color to serve as speaker of the House and the second woman.

Additionally, The Digital Left believes that Rep. Lee would be a strong champion for progressive policies including Medicare for all, a living wage, and taking bold action to address climate change.

“In a time when the president is making erratic foreign policy choices and calling for ever increasing military spending, the next speaker of the House must be someone who can stand up for peace. There is no one better prepared for this challenge than Barbara Lee.”

David Fredrick, who operates Digital Left’s digital outreach efforts, said: “Heading into the 2020 presidential election it’s critical that the Democratic Party and the Progressive Caucus strongly empower leaders like Rep. Lee who can speak clearly and authentically about the issues that are most important to voters. It’s not enough to resist the Trump administration. To win we must present our own vision of the future.”

“We realize Rep. Lee has previously stated that she is not seeking the position, but we believe the growing energy around this movement will convince her to change her mind,” Fredrick said.

The Digital Left is a small, talented, and diverse team of digital organizers, working to continue the bold, progressive vision embodied by Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign – supporting candidates and important issues via social media, digital fundraising, graphic design, and online advertising. Learn more and join at https://actionnetwork.org/groups/the-digital-left-volunteers.

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