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Alameda County, CA June 3, 2014 Election
Smart Voter Full Biography for Barbara Lee

Candidate for
United States Representative; District 13

This information is provided by the candidate

Barbara Lee was born in El Paso, Texas in 1946. Growing up in the segregated Southwest, Barbara learned at an early age the importance of standing up for one's beliefs and of fighting for equality for all.

Barbara's family moved to California in 1960. As a student at San Fernando High School, Barbara successfully challenged a school district policy that prevented her from trying out for the cheerleading team because of her race. With the help of the NAACP, Barbara Lee became the first black cheerleader in the history of her school district.

Barbara later moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to attend Mills College in Oakland. During college, she quickly became a leader in the region's vibrant civil rights movement as the elected president of the Black Students' Association. Her commitment as a community activist led her to get involved in Representative Shirley Chisholm's campaign for president.

Upon receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree from Mills College, Barbara enrolled in U.C. Berkeley's School of Social Welfare, where she trained in clinical psychology. She went on to found and manage the Community Health Alliance for Neighborhood Growth and Education (CHANGE), a community-based mental health clinic in Berkeley, California.

Acting on the advice she received from Representative Chisholm, Barbara applied to become a congressional intern through Cal in the Capitol. She was assigned to the office of then-Congressman Ron Dellums--a place she would spend the next decade of her life in service to her community.

Barbara's own political career began in 1990, when she was elected to the California State Assembly. Six years later, she would move on to the State Senate. Barbara proved very skillful in her ability to forge coalitions and get her legislation signed into law, even by a Republican governor. Upon the retirement of Congressman Dellums in February 1998, Barbara Lee ran to succeed her former boss in the House of Representatives.

Barbara Lee has proven to be an effective leader within the United States Congress, championing legislation to fight poverty, clean up our environment, eradicate HIV/AIDS, and bring universal healthcare to uninsured Americans. In 2008, she was elected Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and also co-founded the Congressional Out of Poverty Caucus. Barbara is also a member and former Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus.

In recognition of her leadership, she has received hundreds of accolades throughout her career including the 2009 International Woman of Courage Award given by the U.S. State Department. In 2005, she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize along with women from 150 countries as part of the international project, 1000 Women for Peace.

Barbara is also an accomplished author, having written dozens of newspaper columns and magazine articles. Her first book, Renegade for Peace and Justice: Congresswoman Barbara Lee Speaks for Me, was published in 2008. Barbara Lee is a proud grandmother to five children. She resides in Oakland, California.

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: May 21, 2014 13:03
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