Fighting From the Start

February 8, 2018

Quite literally, Rep. Barbara Lee has been overcoming obstacles since birth. At age 14, she called in the NAACP to battle discrimination by her school’s cheerleading squad. Attending college as a single mother with two young children, Lee singlehandedly organized northern California for Rep. Shirley Chisholm’s historic 1972 presidential primary campaign. She rose from intern to chief of staff in the office of former Rep. Ron Dellums. Lee has represented what is now California’s 13th district, which includes Oakland and Berkeley, since 1998. The daughter of an Army colonel, Lee is perhaps best known for casting the lone dissenting vote against authorizing the use of military force in the wake of 9/11. “We have to stand for what is right,” Lee says. “Fighting is part of life.”