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Barbara Lee

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Preceded by
Ron Dellums

Succeeded by
Willie Brown

Craig Lee, Tony Lee

Preceded by
Elihu Harris

U.S. Representative

Succeeded by
Don Perata

Barbara Lee

Preceded by
John Burton

Political party

Barbara Lee httpswwwcongressgovimgmember114rpca13l

Full Name
Barbara Jean Tutt

July 16, 1946 (age 77) El Paso, Texas, U.S. (

Representative (D-CA 13th District) since 2013

Previous office
Representative (CA 9th District) 1998–2013

University of California, Berkeley (1975), Mills College (1969–1973), San Fernando High School

Mildred Adaire, Garvin Alexander Tutt

Similar People
Jerry McNerney, Maxine Waters, Pete Stark, Sam Farr, Lucille Roybal‑Allard


Rep barbara lee speaks on the u s travel ban to cuba

Barbara Jean Lee (born July 16, 1946) is the U.S. Representative for California's 13th congressional district, serving East Bay voters from 1998 to 2013 during a time when the region was designated California's 9th congressional district. She is a member of the Democratic Party. She was the first woman to represent the 9th district and is also the first woman to represent the 13th district. Lee was the Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and was the Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Lee is notable as the only member of either house of Congress to vote against the authorization of use of force following the September 11, 2001 attacks. This made her a hero among many in the anti-war movement. Lee has been a vocal critic of the war in Iraq and supports legislation creating a Department of Peace.


Barbara Lee Rep Barbara Lee 39It is past time for a change

Rep barbara lee year in review 2014

Early life and education

Barbara Lee Barbara Lee Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

Lee was born Barbara Jean Tutt in El Paso, Texas, the daughter of Mildred Adaire (née Parish) and Garvin Alexander Tutt, a lieutenant colonel. According to a DNA analysis, she descends primarily from the people of Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone. She moved from Texas to California in 1960 with her military family parents, and attended San Fernando High School in the Pacoima neighborhood of Los Angeles. She was a young single mother of two receiving public assistance when she began attending college. Lee was educated at Mills College, and received an MSW from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1975.

Political career

Barbara Lee Barbara Lee Wikipedia

As president of the Mills College Black Student Union, Lee invited Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm to speak on campus and went on to work on Chisolm's 1972 presidential campaign, serving as her delegate at the 1972 Democratic National Convention. Also as a student, she was a volunteer at the Oakland chapter of the Black Panther Party's Community Learning Center and worked on Panther co-founder Bobby Seale's 1973 Oakland mayoral campaign. Lee was a staff member for United States Representative Ron Dellums and a member of the California State Assembly and the California State Senate before entering the House. She ran for Congress in a special election that created a year-long series of five special elections as various East Bay politicians vied for political office. (For a detailed account of these elections, see Special election musical chairs.)

AUMF opposition

Barbara Lee Accomplishments Barbara Lee for Congress

Lee gained national attention in 2001 as the only member of congress to vote "No" on the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF), stating that she voted no not because she opposed military action but because she believed the AUMF, as written, granted overly-broad powers to wage war to the president at a time when the facts regarding the situation were not yet clear. She "warned her colleagues to be 'careful not to embark on an open-ended war with neither an exit strategy nor a focused target.'" Lee explained, "It was a blank check to the president to attack anyone involved in the September 11 events—anywhere, in any country, without regard to our nation's long-term foreign policy, economic and national security interests, and without time limit. In granting these overly broad powers, the Congress failed its responsibility to understand the dimensions of its declaration.... The president has the constitutional authority to protect the nation from further attack, and he has mobilized the armed forces to do just that. The Congress should have waited for the facts to be presented and then acted with fuller knowledge of the consequences of our action."

Barbara Lee Barbara Lee House Democratic Caucus Demsgov

This vote made nationwide news reports and brought about a large and extremely polarized response, with the volume of calls gridlocking the switchboard of her Capitol Hill office. Although it appears to have reflected the beliefs of the majority of her constituents, the majority of responses from elsewhere in the nation were angry and hostile, some referring to her as "communist" and "traitor". Many of the responses included death threats against her or her family to the point that the Capitol Police provided round-the-clock plainclothes bodyguards. She was also criticized by politicians and in editorial pages of conservative-leaning newspapers, e.g. John Fund's column in The Wall Street Journal. She was awarded the Seán MacBride Peace Prize by the International Peace Bureau in 2002 for that vote.

In her speech, she quoted the Rev. Nathan Baxter, dean of National Cathedral: “As we act, let us not become the evil that we deplore."

On June 29, 2017, the House Appropriations Committee approved Rep. Barbara Lee’s amendment to repeal the 2001 authorization for the use of military force that was the foundation of the U.S.’s post-September 11 military actions. The amendment, if passed, will require that the 2001 authorization for the use of military force be scrapped within 240 days.

Other positions

Congressional Black Caucus

She hinted to the Oakland Tribune that she would run for the leadership of the Congressional Black Caucus in September 2008, following the end of her four-year term as co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Death penalty

Lee's opposition to the death penalty was recognized in 2002 by Death Penalty Focus, when they presented her with the Mario Cuomo Act of Courage Award.

Foreign affairs

Although Lee is considered a liberal Democrat, she has occasionally split with members of her own party throughout her congressional career, especially on foreign policy matters. She voted in favor of limiting military operations in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, against authorizing air strikes, and in favor of a Republican-backed plan to completely withdraw U.S. troops from the operation, all in 1999. Lee voted against the Iraq War Resolution in 2002. Lee was one of only 46 Democrats to vote for the Online Freedom of Speech Act of 2005. Lee was one of only 13 Democrats to vote against an emergency supplemental appropriations bill in 2007 which, among other things, funded the war in Iraq but required withdrawal of U.S. forces to begin by October 1. However, Lee voted in favor of overriding President Bush's veto of the measure on May 2. On November 2009 Lee was one of 36 representatives to vote "nay" on House Resolution 867, which condemned the UN's Goldstone Report. Lee voted to withdraw troops from Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011. Lee also voted in favor of similar resolutions involving troop withdrawal from Pakistan and, most recently, Libya. Lee also joined her Republican colleagues, one of 70 Democrats to do so, in voting against a resolution to authorize limited use of force in Libya. Lee was also one of only 36 Democrats to vote in favor of limiting funds appropriated for military operations in Libya.

Presidential election re-count

Lee was one of the 31 who voted in the House to not count the electoral votes from Ohio in the 2004 presidential election.


Lee is the author of the Shirley A. Chisholm United States-Caribbean Educational Exchange Act, which would enhance U.S. foreign relations with CARICOM nations. This act directs the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to develop a comprehensive program that extends and expands existing primary and secondary school initiatives in the Caribbean to provide: (1) teacher training methods; and (2) increased community involvement in school activities. The bill is named for former Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, who helped inspire Lee to become involved in politics when Chisholm ran for the Democratic nomination for President; Lee became the Northern California Chair of the Chisholm campaign.


On September 29, 2008, Lee was one of 95 Democrats to vote against the defeated Emergency Economic Stabilization Act. However, she voted for a modified version on October 3.

Health care

Lee was strongly critical of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, which places restrictions on health insurance plans providing coverage for abortions in the context of the Affordable Health Care for America Act.


As a congresswoman for the Bay Area, Barbara Lee has made affordable housing in East Bay area and beyond a top priority. Lee has supported and backed legislation meant to expand home ownership opportunities, improve public housing quality, and assist the homeless.

Social Work

On March 15, 2013, Lee announced the official relaunch of the Congressional Social Work Caucus to the 113th Congress as the new chairwoman of the social work caucus.

Personal life and public image

Lee has two sons, Tony and Craig, both of whom work in the insurance industry. Tony Lee is the CEO of Dickerson Employee Benefits, one of the nation's largest African-American owned insurance brokerage/consulting firms. Craig Lee is a long term senior executive at State Farm.

Lee endorsed Senator Barack Obama for president in the 2008 primary.

Lee's voting record as a member of the House was ranked by the National Journal in 2007, based on roll-call votes on economic, social and foreign policy issues in 2006. Lee scored an overall 84.3%, meaning she voted with a more liberal stance than 84.3% of the House. National Journal scored Lee as voting 82% liberal on economic issues, 92% liberal on social issues, and 65% liberal on foreign policy. The 92% rating on social issues came from Lee being grouped with 35 other House legislators who all tied for the highest, most liberal ranking. Lee received a 97% progressive rating from "The Progressive Punch," and a 4% conservative rating from the American Conservative Union. In 2016, GovTrack's 2015 Report Card on members in Congress ranked Barbara Lee as the 3rd most progressive member of the House of Representatives.

In 2002, Representative Barbara Lee received the Courage of Conscience Award in Boston from the Peace Abbey for her courage to stand alone and vote against the call to war after the tragedy of September 11. In her speech she said, “let us not become the evil that we deplore”.

In 2003, she was recognized as a Woman of Peace at the Global Exchange Human Rights Awards in San Francisco with Bianca Jagger, Arundhati Roy and Kathy Kelly. In 2010, Lee took the food stamp challenge and also appeared in the documentary film Food Stamped.

In 2014, she, along with Hill Harper and Meagan Good contributed to the bestselling book by Enitan Bereola II., Gentlewoman: Etiquette for a Lady, from a Gentleman.

Committee assignments

  • Committee on Appropriations
  • Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
  • Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
  • House Committee on The Budget
  • Caucuses

  • Congressional Caucus on HIV/AIDS (Co-Chair)
  • Congressional Out of Poverty Caucus (Co-Chair)
  • Congressional Progressive Caucus
  • Congressional Black Caucus
  • Co-Chair of the CBC Outreach Task Force
  • Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (Associate Member)
  • Congressional Caucus on Global Road Safety (Member)
  • International Conservation Caucus
  • Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus
  • Congressional Social Work Caucus (Chair)
  • Electoral history

    In 2014, Lee received endorsements from the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, Feminist Majority Political Action Committee, J Street PAC, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Sierra Club, and United Auto Workers.


    Barbara Lee Wikipedia

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