Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) Calls upon Governor Newsom to Name a Progressive Champion such as Rep. Barbara Lee to the U.S. Senate

Dec 4, 2020

By Alan Minsky, Executive Director – Progressive Democrats of America


California is the most populous state in the country, and one of the most influential regions in the entire world. California sets trends and points the way forward. California is also among the most diverse regions on the planet. It is also one of the most politically progressive.

Therefore, Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) calls upon Governor Newson to appoint a true progressive to fill the U. S. Senate seat previously held by Kamala Harris, who will soon be inaugurated Vice President on January 20, 2021, the first woman and the first person of color ever to hold that office.

We have received much feedback from PDA members across the state on this matter. Drawing on that feedback we recognize five members of the U. S. House of Representatives, and one incoming member of the L A City Council, who would make great senators. All six champion the type of policies that California and the country desperately need in this time of crisis. They are Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Ro Khanna, Rep. Karen Bass, Rep. Ted Lieu, Rep. Nanette Barragan, and City Council member-elect Kevin DeLeon, who was officially endorsed by the California Democratic Party when he ran for the U.S. Senate in 2018.

Rep. Barbara Lee deserves first mention. Not surprisingly, she has received the greatest amount of support from PDAers across the state. Simply put, there are few prominent politicians in America who have consistently championed progressive policies as long as the great Representative from the East Bay. Now, in 2020, these are the policies overwhelmingly supported by Californians. In the Senate, Barbara Lee will continue as a fearless advocate on the right side of all of the most pressing issues of our time: combating systemic racism, advocating for universal single-payer health care (the only sane solution for our country’s otherwise intractable health care crises), protecting the planet, and containing runaway military spending. Selecting Barbara Lee to follow her friend Kamala Harris into the U S Senate will be one of the great moments in California political history.

We also have nothing but high praise for Ro Khanna; who also received ample support from the PDA base to become our next Senator In only a few years, Ro has established himself as one of the strongest advocates in American politics for policies that put people and the planet first. The selection of Ro Khanna to the U S Senate would elevate a visionary politician into the higher chamber of Congress–to the benefit of us all.

PDA also heard from many Southern Californians about the disproportionate number of Northern Californians in prominent statewide and national political positions; and the need for balanced regional representation. Karen Bass, Ted Lieu, Nanette Barragan, and Kevin DeLeon are all Southern Californian progressive champions.

Also, many PDA supporters are asking Gov. Newsom to name the first-ever Latino Senator from California; with strong support being registered for Nanette Barragan and Kevin DeLeon.

Lastly, we’d be remiss if we didn’t express a widely-held sentiment among PDA supporters that a special election would be preferable to determine the next Senator – even as we understand that partisan control of the Senate hangs in the balance – rather than have Gov Newsom confer all the advantages of incumbency on his selection in advance of the election for the seat in 2022. Given that, we would also be happy to see Gov. Newsom select a progressive placeholder who would agree to serve the remainder of Kamala Harris’ term and not run for re-election, allowing the people of California to make this essential decision.


  1. Susan von Manske

    Hi Alan.
    We miss you at KPFK. We just signed the petition to restructure the Pacifica Board.
    Also, how about Dave Jones to replace Becerra in the CA Attorney General’s Office? He has an enormous amount of experience in the State Assembly, as the State Insurance Commissioner and in the Federal Attorney General’s Office under Janet Reno.

  2. Dawn McCarty

    Hi, Alan!!
    Remember me??
    We’re the team that returned your phone to you at the Dem Convention last year up in SF.
    (Dawn & Mimi in Katie Porter’s district!!
    Hope you & your family are well.
    Thank You for all you do!!