California's Lee to lead Black Caucus

Nov. 20, 2008 at 1:54 AM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., has been tapped to lead the Congressional Black Caucus.

The 10-year House veteran was announced in Washington Wednesday as chairwoman-elect of the 42-member group, the Oakland Tribune reported. Lee, who was unopposed for the post, succeeds Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick, D-Mich.

"We have many, many challenges, but those challenges do present historic opportunities," Lee said. "When you look at the economy and the fact that millions of Americans' lives are in shambles due to the foreclosure crisis, that's the first priority for all of us."

Lee said she was confident Democrats could reach consensus on key issues even though "we all have our points of view."

"But the Congressional Black Caucus has been called 'the conscience of the Congress,' and we're going to continue to be that and to help our speaker," she said.

Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., will be first vice chairman; Rep. Donna Christensen, D-Virgin Islands, will be second vice chairwoman; Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., will be secretary; and Rep. Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., will be serve as caucus whip.

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