The contest to secure the vacant seat of the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein in the US Senate intensified as 27 candidates vied for the position. In a lively forum showcasing the leading contenders, including Rep. Adam Schiff, Barbara Lee, and Katie Porter, over two dozen candidates presented their visions for the Senate seat. This forum was hosted by Ethnic Media Services and California Black Media.
Lee, the initial speaker, emphasized her campaign’s reliance on a large number of small donors. Sharing her journey from El Paso, Texas, and highlighting her family’s history, Lee underscored her commitment to immigration issues and the fight against poverty. She criticized the Democratic Party’s endorsement approach and stressed her unique position as the only person of color in the race.
Fielding questions on economic policies, Lee expressed support for single-payer insurance, the child tax credit, and Medicare for All. On immigration reform, she asserted that she would have voted against the bill due to its lack of representation for Black and Brown members of Congress. Lee also addressed concerns of Black women, emphasizing their importance in shaping policy discussions.
Congressman Adam Schiff followed, expressing his opposition to the failed immigration and aid package. Schiff advocated for a comprehensive approach with a path to citizenship, specifically addressing the needs of Dreamers. He delved into his priorities, including eliminating the filibuster, passing voting rights legislation, and ensuring equitable access to healthcare.
“I am committed to doing away with the filibuster and passing comprehensive immigration reform. In the interest of Democratic self-criticism, I acknowledge that, during the first two years of the Biden administration and a couple of years of the Obama administration, when we had control of the House, Senate, and the White House, we didn’t get this done,” Schiff said. “It’s crucial that we address it now because the Republicans are not going to help us.”
When questioned about representing the voice of Black women, Schiff pledged to prioritize diversity in confirmations, ensuring the Senate bench reflects America. He underscored the importance of diversity in addressing issues like environmental injustice.
The final speaker, Katie Porter, known as Congress’s “single mom and watchdog,” focused on oversight and accountability. Porter highlighted her record of pressing figures like Trump, Wells Fargo, and Jamie Diamond. She emphasized her refusal of PAC money and presented a 6-point plan to reshape the Senate’s power dynamics.
Porter addressed issues such as housing, childcare costs, and climate change. On the immigration/aid package, she stated it failed to address the comprehensive needs of the immigration system. Porter, a vocal supporter of Medicare for All, also discussed the urgency of tackling climate change and confronting corporate entities to address key societal challenges.
Porter said she will advocate for accountability and is determined to hold big pharmaceutical companies responsible for price gouging and inflating healthcare costs, particularly shortchanging our dialysis patients.
“We deserve a senator who not only talks about democracy but actively strengthens it. Through my campaign, I’ve introduced a 6-point plan to shake up the Senate, redirecting its focus from special interests to the people,” Porter said. “Currently, mega-donors control the conversation, prioritizing corporate interests over the needs of everyday citizens. Having experienced California’s housing challenges firsthand as a consumer advocate, I am committed to addressing these issues and making the Senate work for all, not just the wealthy few.”