Barbara Lee Highlights Progressive Vision During State of the District Address

BLeeCrowd.gifChildren from Martin Luther King Freedom Center. Photo by Dorice McFadden

Appearing before hundreds of her constituents from the 9th Congressional District, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) delivered her Fourth Annual State of the District Address on Monday, reminding members of the audience that a new day is dawning and that the close of the Bush Administration and its counterproductive policies is fast approaching.
“As I stand here tonight, I can’t help but be excited that there are only 300 days left before President Bush finally leaves the White House,” Lee said to a rousing round of applause. “With the end of these dark and dangerous days in sight, hope abounds for a new future.”
During the 25-minute speech, Lee – who is poised to celebrate 10 years in office – spoke of the sweeping and aggressive agenda for members of the Progressive Caucus, which she co-chairs, and outlined her priorities for residents of the 9th Congressional District.
Lee told an audience that she will continue the push for funding to combat the AIDS Pandemic both nationally and abroad. “As we seek to meet the challenges of HIV/AIDS around the world and at home, we are making some progress,” said Lee, a member of the Appropriation Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services.
“But we must remember that right here at home, we are fighting part of the global AIDS pandemic,” added Lee, who was the original co-author of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
Other priorities Lee plans to focus on include working with Congress to craft federal legislation that would provide immediate relief for homeowners who are faced with the prospect of foreclosure as a result of the mounting mortgage crisis, and continuing to lobby for increase funding for the food-stamp program.
Lee, whose resolution to cut poverty in half in this country in the next decade won sweeping approval in the house, will continue to support federal legislation that would protect Americans during the impending “Bush recession.”
Many of the priorities that Lee outlined are embodied in The Progressive Promise, an action for members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
Lee said those priorities include working for a safe and timely redeployment of troops in Iraq, fighting to prevent the installation of permanent bases in Iraq and continuing to lobby for support for two bills – the Iran Nuclear Accountability Act (H.R. 770), and the Iran Diplomatic Accountability Act (H.R.5056) – that would prevent a preemptive strike against Iran and would require the Bush Administration to appoint a high-level official or special envoy to Iran to improve diplomatic relations between the United States and Iran.
“As we all know, the fight for global peace and security extends beyond Iraq to preventing a Bush war of preemption against Iran,” said Lee, who is co-foundered of the Out of Iraq Caucus.
Lee, who authored the Darfur Divestment Act that was signed into law in December, said she will continue to do what she can to bring an end to the genocide that is being carried by the Sudanese government.
“Preventing a war with Iran and ending the occupation are critical as we promote global peace and security,” Lee said. “But so to is standing up against the horrific genocide in Darfur.”