Lee Elected CBC Chair

Posted November 19, 2008 at 1:20pm

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) on Wednesday was elected chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus for the 111th Congress.

Lee, who has previously served as whip and first vice chair for the CBC, is taking over for outgoing Chairwoman Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-Mich.). The group will lay out its Congressional agenda in January.

Several CBC members hold key posts in Congress, including Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.), Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.). President-elect Barack Obama also will be an ally.

Asked if CBC members have talked with Obama about the role of African-Americans in his administration, Lee said it is “premature” at this stage since the CBC just elected its new leadership for the next Congress. She noted that she has spoken to Obama once since he was elected president.

Also Wednesday, the CBC tapped Rep. Yvette Clark (D-N.Y.) as whip, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) as first vice chair, Rep. Donna Christian-Christensen (D-Virgin Islands) as second vice chair and Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) as secretary.