Rep. Barbara Lee will attend Friday’s flag-raising
at U.S. Embassy in Havana.
CONGRESS | 13TH DISTRICT | East Bay Rep. Barbara Lee is attending Friday’s historic raising of the U.S. flag over its embassy in Havana. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, business leaders and other lawmakers will attend the ceremony.
But while it’s not exactly surprising Lee is part of the delegation following decades of activism over ending the Cold War era economic embargo against Cuba, rumors of her interest in being named ambassador have long been connected to her.
“While this delegation and the opening of an American embassy in Cuba is an important step forward, more work remains to end more than five decades of failed policy between the U.S. and Cuba,” Lee said in a statement Thursday.
Congress must act now to remove the remaining barriers to normalized relations including lifting the travel ban and ending the failed embargo. These Cold War relics must be repealed as we chart a new path forward between our two nations.”
Quite a few scenarios would have to break in Lee’s favor before might even be considered ambassador to Cuba, namely, whether a Democrat succeeds President Obama in the White House next year.
If the time frame were pushed back earlier in Obama’s administration, the odds might be better for Lee’s appointment. Then there is the question of whether Lee, one of the most liberal and high-profile members of Congress, can win Senate confirmation. Lee’s politics is often lampooned by right-leaning web sites and news organization.
Nevertheless, the possibility of Lee moving on to greater things would have dramatic ramifications on East Bay politics, likely triggering a similarly massive reshuffling of local offices that followed Lee’s rise in 1998 to replace Ron Dellums.
Four special elections and runoffs ensued over the next year. Don Perata won Lee’s State Senate seat; Audie Bock won Perata’s Assembly seat. Each was hard fought and voter fatigue was palpable.
If Lee were to move on or chose retirement in the middle of her term, a similar Game of Thrones might follow resulting in a congressional election; elections for the Assembly, Board of Supervisors and another election if the bottom feeder of the group is a current public official.