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Newsom must pick Harris’ replacement


U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), made history last week when Joe Biden, the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee, announced that she would serve as his running mate.  While much of the national and local news centered around the selection of Senator Harris, California political insiders were having a different conversation.

Almost immediately after Biden’s announcement, the politicos in the Golden State began formulating predictions on who Gov. Gavin Newsom would select to serve the balance of Senator Harris’s term in the U.S. Senate, which ends in January 2023.

Fortunately, California has an impressive list for the Governor to consider:

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-13), former Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Progressive Caucus, was an early supporter of Newsom and is beloved by her Bay Area constituency.

It is likely that Governor Newsom has already added Rep. Karen Bass (D-37) to his shortlist of candidates to fill Harris’s seat. A 10-year veteran in the House of Representatives, Bass, the current chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and former Speaker of the California Assembly, possesses both the leadership skills and the acumen to serve in the U.S. Senate in this historic moment.

Affectionately called “Auntie Maxine” by fans from all backgrounds and ages, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-43) has been a member of the U.S. Congress for almost 30 years. She is both loved and loathed for her no-nonsense, in-your-face politicking and sharp criticism of political opponents, including Republican Presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump.

Superintendent Tony Thurmond became California’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction after successfully defeating a well-funded opponent statewide.  Prior to this position, he served as a state Assemblymember, a member of the Richmond City Council and a member of the West Contra Costa County Unified School District.

Board of Equalization Member Malia Cohen, a native of the vote-rich Bay Area, is no stranger to Newsom and is a tested and proven viable statewide vote getter, having garnered 72 percent of the vote in her 23-county Board of Equalization District, representing over 10 million Californians.

State Senator Holly Mitchell (D-30), who serves as the Chair of the California State Senate Budget Committee, is one of the most well respected, and powerful policy makers in California.

Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D-79) serves as the chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus. She is one of the most effective and respected policymakers serving in the California legislature.

Los Angeles City Councilmember Herb Wesson is former speaker of the state assembly, former president of the Los Angeles City Council and is currently a candidate for Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas is one of the most effective policymakers in the state of California. Ridley-Thomas previously served in both the California State Assembly and the California Senate, and served as the Chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus.

Mayor London Breed, the first African- American woman to serve as Mayor of San Francisco, made a splash on the national political stage this year because of her proactive response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our advice to the Governor is to be thoughtful in his deliberations and understand that his decision will speak very loudly to Black communities throughout California and the nation.

Hardy Brown is publisher emeritus of the Black Voice News in Riverside and founder of California Black Media.

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