Senate

Pressley urges Newsom to appoint a Black woman to Harris’s seat

Reuters/Pool

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) urged California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to appoint a woman of color to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s Senate seat once she assumes the office in January.

“We absolutely cannot go backwards. With the election of @KamalaHarris to VP-elect, @CAgovernor must prioritize this leadership, perspective & representation in the vacated U.S. Senate seat & appoint a Black woman,” Pressley wrote in a tweet on Tuesday, tagging Democratic California Reps. Barbara Lee and Karen Bass.

Lee and Bass, representing the state’s 13th and 37th districts, respectively, have both received support from the California Legislative Black Caucus to be appointed to fill Harris’s Senate seat.

Lee has indicated interest in the role, tweeting in November:

With Harris’s win in the 2020 presidential election, Newsom has been given a rare opportunity to reshape California politics. Several progressive officials have been pushed forward to receive the appointment, with California Secretary of State Alex Padilla (D) seen as the most likely replacement.

If selected by Newsom, Padilla would be the first person of Latin descent to represent California in the Senate, and his appointment would also allow the governor to select his replacement as secretary of state.

Newsom is also expected to get the chance to appoint a new state attorney general if Xavier Becerra is confirmed as President-elect Joe Biden’s secretary of Health and Human Services.

Harris is currently the only Black woman serving in the Senate and only the second ever, following Carol Moseley Braun (D-Ill.), who left office in 1999.

Last week, Newsom received a letter from two women’s group, Politico reports, asking him to ensure that Harris’s seat goes to a Black woman. More than 100 women affiliated with Black Women United signed the letter.

“Black women have continuously been credited with saving the Democratic Party. By retaining the only seat held in the United States Senate by a Black woman, California has an opportunity to do more than just thank Black women,’’ said the letter. 

Tags Alex Padilla Ayanna Pressley Barbara Lee California Gavin Newsom Joe Biden Karen Bass senate appointment Xavier Becerra
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