OAKLAND, CA — California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara has endorsed Congresswoman and leading progressive candidate for Senate Barbara Lee, the Lee campaign announced today, making Lara the sixth statewide executive officer to support Lee’s historic campaign.
“Countless people in California have had their lives improved by the work Barbara Lee has done, and she is exactly the experienced progressive champion we need right now in the Senate,” said Insurance Commissioner Lara. “She has opened doors for progressives and people of color to get involved in government, and she has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to lifting people out of poverty and fighting for climate, racial, and economic justice. I am very proud to enthusiastically endorse Barbara Lee for Senate.”
Insurance Commissioner Lara is no stranger to history-making campaigns, and in 2018, he became the first openly LGBTQ+ individual elected to statewide office in California’s history. Prior to his work as Insurance Commissioner, Lara served eight years as a member of the State Assembly and State Senate, where he became known for fighting to expand access to healthcare, including introducing legislation to create a single-payer healthcare system for California and writing the Health4All Kids Act, which now covers all California children with full-scope Medi-Cal regardless of immigration status.
“Insurance Commissioner Lara has been a beacon for progressive change throughout his time in public service,” said Congresswoman Lee. “He has played a crucial role in the work to protect and support immigrants, to prepare California for the oncoming damage of climate change, and to protect the rights of consumers throughout the Golden State. During my time in the California State Senate I was very involved with the Insurance, Claims, and Corporations Committee and I have a special appreciation for Insurance Commissioner Lara’s work to make it cheaper and easier for people who live in increasingly fire-prone areas to protect their homes with insurance coverage. He is doing great work and I am honored by Insurance Commissioner Lara’s support.”
Since her days in the State Legislature, Congresswoman Lee has been an outspoken advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. She authored the California Schools Hate Violence Reduction Act to protect marginalized groups, including LGBTQ+ Californians, from hate violence in public schools. In Congress, she is a co-founder and the vice chair of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus and has voted consistently to protect marriage equality and recognize LGBTQ+ Americans as equal under the law. Also an early and outspoken advocate for ending HIV and ensuring an AIDS-free generation, Congresswoman Lee spearheaded nearly every major piece of HIV/AIDS legislation and worked with a Republican president to secure $15 billion in prevention and treatment funding that has saved millions of lives around the world.
Significantly, Insurance Commissioner Lara’s endorsement means that Congresswoman Lee now has the support of six of California’s eight statewide executive officers, a clear signal of both Lee’s broad support and deep ties and relationships with key decision-makers needed to get things done for Californians. Lara joins Attorney General Rob Bonta, Treasurer Fiona Ma, Controller Malia Cohen, Secretary of State Shirley Weber, and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond in asking voters to support Congresswoman Lee.
Other national and California endorsers of Lee’s campaign include Congressmembers Jamaal Bowman, Sheila Jackson Lee, Steven Horsford, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Troy Carter, Sydney Kamlager-Dove, Nikema Williams, Jim Clyburn, Bennie Thompson, Lucy McBath, Terri Sewell, and Gregory Meeks, former Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Cedric Richmond, former Georgia General Assembly House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, State Senators Susan Talamantes Eggman, Anna Caballero and Nancy Skinner, Assemblymembers Isaac Bryan, Mia Bonta and Corey Jackson, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, San Bernardino Mayor Helen Tran, Redlands Mayor Eddie Tejeda, Rialto Mayor Deborah Robertson, former Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, former Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Palm Desert Mayor Pro Tem Karina Quintanilla, Dolores Huerta, California Democratic Party Asian Pacific Islander Caucus Chair Deepa Sharma, California Democratic Party Progressive Caucus Chair Emeritus Amar Shergill, California Democratic Party LGBTQ Caucus Co-Chair Emeritus Tiffany Woods. A full list of endorsements is available at barbaraleeforCA.com.
Lee also has the backing of the Working Families Party, Gen Z for Change, Alameda County Building and Construction Trades Council, California Legislative Black Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus PAC, Feminist Majority PAC, Black Women Organized for Political Action PAC, Higher Heights for America, and a series of young-Democratic organizations, including the San Diego County Young Democrats, East Bay Young Democrats, and Latine Young Democrats of the East Bay.
There are currently no Black women serving in the U.S. Senate. Since 1789, when the first Congress met, only two African-American women have been in the Senate, serving a total of 10 years.