On Monday, Democratic Rep. Mike Doyle announced his plans to retire after more than 25 years in office, and on Tuesday, state Rep. Summer Lee, a progressive Democrat from southwest Pennsylvania, announced her run for Congress. Notably, Lee makes it clear that she was intending to run whether Doyle announced his retirement or not. If Lee’s name sounds familiar, it might be because you remember her excellent interview with Daily Kos from a few years ago while at Netroots Nation, where she gave us advice for millennials running for office, ending the school-to-prison pipeline, and shared the touching advice she would give her younger self. If our Making Progress series doesn’t ring a bell, it’s likely because Lee has garnered some well-deserved love on the national scale thanks to her authentic, powerful progressive politics.
Lee, like other members of the “Squad”—including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar—wants to push moderate Democrats to the left. For example, Lee supports student debt cancellation, Medicare for All, workers’ rights, the Green New Deal, defunding the police, universal child care, lowering drug prices, and more affordable public college. College and debt relief have been particularly personal issues for Lee, as she’s been open about being a single mom with student loan debt from both college and law school.
“When you are Black and brown and poor and you live in under-resourced communities,”’ Lee told local outlet WESA. “You know environmental justice and the labor movement go hand in hand,” adding that the same goes for economic and racial justice, education equity and health care, and housing. “Those are the issues that have been the center of my work,” she said. “That will not change.” In a word: intersectionality.
If elected, Lee would become the first Black woman to serve Pennsylvania in Congress. Firsts are not new to Lee; for example, she’s already the first Black woman representing southwest Pennsylvania in the state House.
You can check out a new campaign ad from Lee below.
“We have to build mass movements and engage the electorate in different ways,” Lee told the HuffPost in an interview referring to her run. “I have something to offer and contribute to that conversation.”
In speaking to CNN about the race, Lee acknowledged valid concerns about redistricting in Pennsylvania. As of now, it appears redistricting will impact the outline of the district that includes both Pittsburgh and some surrounding suburbs. In speaking to the outlet, Lee pointed out that if Pittsburgh, for example, is divided and Black and brown voters are essentially targeted and split, that’s actually gerrymandering.
“When you split the second largest population of Black and brown folks in the Commonwealth,” Lee told CNN, “when you split the second largest urban area, that’s also a gerrymander.” Still, she stressed that her team knows the region and believes “we are able to play in this region, whatever district or two districts come out of it.”
You can check out our 2019 interview with Lee below.
From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.