Pressley urges Newsom to appoint a Black woman to Harris’s seat
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.
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. @BLeeForCongress & @KarenBassTweets are seasoned policymakers. https://t.co/0krXlbeh7s
— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) December 15, 2020
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:
It would be an honor to fill Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’s role in the Senate. I know Gov. Gavin Newsom will pick the person he believes best represents California. https://t.co/g8IaRbtdy3
— Barbara Lee (@BLeeForCongress) November 20, 2020
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.