Last January, when a groundswell of progressive angst coarsed through the veins of local activists hoping to secure spots as delegates to last weekend’s state convention, many in the East Bay were surprised to learn the most left-leaning state party in the nation didn’t even have a dedicated progressive caucus.
Self-described Berniecrats and Bernie bros subsequently made significant gains during the January delegate elections, including a surprising sweep of East Bay Assemblymembers Rob Bonta district, despite none having his endorsement. Assembly Democrats obviously saw the writing on the wall.
Over the weekend, 22 members of the state assembly officially signed-on to form the Assembly Progressive Caucus.
Among those are three East Bay assemblymembers, including Bonta, Tony Thurmond from Richmond and Berkeley’s 15th District and Bill Quirk in the Hayward-centered 20th District.
Assemblymember Kansen Chu, who represents Fremont in Southern Alameda County to San Jose in Santa Clara County, also joined the caucus.
The group was created in part to provide a bulwark against the rise of moderate, business-friendly Democrats in the Legislature, known as the “Mod Squad.”
They celebrated the creation of the caucus in style on Saturday night with a private party headlined by a performance from hip-hop artist and actor Common.