Magazine article The Crisis

Next CBC Chair Faces an Uphill Battle

Magazine article The Crisis

Next CBC Chair Faces an Uphill Battle

Article excerpt

Two congressional representatives well known for their outspokenness and staunch positions on issues concerning African Americans are looking to take over the top spot in the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) during the 110th Congress.

CBC vice chair Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-Mich.) and CBC whip Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), are reportedly vying to become the next chair of the organization. If either is elected, it will be the first time a woman has led the group during a presidential election season since 1980.

Both women remained guarded on the issue when contacted by The Crisis and other media in late May, offering only statements through their spokespeople.

Lee's office says she is "very interested in pursuing the Congressional Black Caucus chair," according to spokesman Nathan Britton, who added that she "looks forward to sharing her goals and visions for the CBC in the near future."

Tracy Walker, spokeswoman for Kilpatrick (whose son, Kwame is mayor of Detroit), says she "will be running for chair of the CBC during the 110th Congress and will be meeting with Congresswoman Lee within the next week or so."

Both congresswomen are expected to speak further about the race later, their offices say.

Josephine Hearn, a reporter who covers the CBC for The Hill, an independently published Congressional newspaper, says the caucus chair will be an important position during the upcoming political season.

"In 2008 we'll have the presidential election," Hearn explains. "The nominating process is a time when all the candidates are trying to seek favors with members of the CBC and the chair will have an influential role in that process. …

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