When the leader of California’s Legislative Black Caucus talks about why it should be a Black woman who replaces Kamala Harris in the U.S. Senate, she often comes back to the old adage about political power.
“If you don’t have a seat at the table,” Assemblywoman Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) told me, “then you’re on the menu.”
And Black people in California rightly have no intention of being on the menu. For the second time this week, an amalgam of Black leaders sent a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday, urging him to pick Rep. Karen Bass of Los Angeles or Rep. Barbara Lee of Oakland to fill the seat soon to be vacated by Vice President-elect Harris.
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“Representation matters,” they wrote. “Our democracy should reflect the vibrant diversity of California and reward African American women for continuing to power the Democratic Party to important victories nationwide, including regaining the White House.” Only problem for Newsom is that Latino leaders are making a similar argument. “California is blue, blue, blue because of us,” Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) said last month. “It is the work that Latinos did on the ground. It is our housekeepers and our janitors. We built California as a new California, as a California that elects Democrats time and time again.” The Latino Legislative Caucus is pushing Newsom to appoint Secretary of State Alex Padilla — especially now that another potential pick, California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra, has been nominated to become the nation’s next Health and Human Services secretary. So what’s a governor who loves to talk about equity to do when faced with this phalanx of qualified candidates of color? Here’s a thought: We should help him out by urging Dianne Feinstein to step down