Outgoing Congresswoman Barbara Lee Endorses Lateefah Simon As Her Successor

San Francisco Chronicle/Hearst Newspapers via Getty Images / Contributor / Getty Images

Next year, California’s 12th congressional district will have a new representative after being represented by Congresswoman Barbara Lee for the past 25 years. Lee is pursuing a seat in the U.S. Senate and has just formally endorsed Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) board member Lateefah Simon’s campaign to succeed her in representing the 12th district.

Per the press release, “[t]he Twelfth Congressional District has long been a progressive, multiracial, enlightened beacon for California and the country — we lead with an example of a progressive, people-centered approach to challenges and show what democracy is truly about.”

“Our district’s strength is a distinct reminder of the late, great warrior for peace and justice Ron Dellums, my predecessor, and who I consider to be the father of coalition politics. After his 27 years of service, he passed the baton to me — and now, I am excited and proud to endorse Lateefah Simon, my former student and true fighter for peace and justice, to run this next lap of the race,” Lee continued.

“Lateefah is from the community, and for the community…From her teenage years working to support young women and trans youth, to fighting to make public transit more affordable and accessible, she is a fierce advocate and proven leader,” Lee added. “It’s my honor to pass the blue baton to Lateefah, who I trust to stand up for the values of the 12th District, and continue building the broad coalition working together for a better world.”

 “For the last 25 years, she has been a voice for moral clarity in Congress and she has boldly represented the progressive values of this district,” said Simon. “It is not hyperbole to say Congresswoman Lee is one of the most respected legislators of our time and someone who broke ceilings and blazed trails for Black women in politics. I am deeply humbled and honored to have earned her endorsement in this race.”

And the endorsements for Simon keep coming in— in addition to Lee, Simon has also earned endorsements from the California Democratic Party, Reproductive Justice for All, SEIU, and over 60+ organizations, elected officials, and labor unions.

California Governor Gavin Newsom also endorsed Simon at the end of last year. In the past Newsom and Simon worked together representing District 7 on BART’s board of directors.

As Newsom told Politico “Lateefah is a visionary. But more than a visionary, she is a proven leader who effects the kind of change that makes her vision a reality…From working closely with Lateefah and watching her deliver real, progressive change in her community, I have come to understand her as a true force of nature. She is a dedicated and honorable public servant, a devoted community woman, and a role model to many.”

Most of the district encompasses Oakland, and also “stretches from Albany to San Leandro” and is currently dealing with a marked increase in violent crime. This has caused corporations like In-N-Out to announce the closing of the city’s only outpost because of “pervasive car break-ins and armed robberies.” In addition, Kaiser Permanente, the largest employer in Oakland also advised their employees to avoid leaving the office during their lunch break and Clorox is having security officers escort their workers “to and from the office.”

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “[o]f the nine candidates running to replace Lee — seven Democrats and two Republicans — Simon was the lone standout.” The editorial board believes that Simon will be well-positioned to handle these challenges, given her track record on BART and as “a California State University trustee and a longtime nonprofit executive and civil justice advocate who received Lee’s endorsement.”

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