When 15th Assembly District candidate Jovanka Beckles was asked at a forum two weeks ago to name her political heroes, she heaped praise on former Richmond Councilmember Gayle McLaughlin, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Rep. Barbara Lee. The latter may have been listening. Beckles received Lee’s endorsement Wednesday.

The backing of perhaps the most popular elected official in the East Bay is big news for Beckles in a district centered in Berkeley, a city that has long embraced Lee’s brand of progressive politics. Beckles, a progressive Democrat is running against fellow Democrat Buffy Wicks next month.

“Today, I’m proud to announce my support of Jovanka Beckles for the 15th Assembly District in California,” Lee announced in an email to supporters of her own re-election campaign. “Our community needs leaders–up and down the ballot–who will fight for justice, equality, and opportunity for all. It is important that in the Bay Area, we have leaders on the local, state, and national levels working together to make a difference.

“Jovanka is such a leader, and has a proven track record of taking on the tough challenges and winning. She successfully worked to ban the box in Richmond, so that people who serve their time are not needlessly locked out of employment opportunities. She’s been a constant advocate for her community, successfully working to pass a $15 minimum wage, and helping to enact the first new rent control in 30 years in California.”

Although, their politics are undoubtedly on the same wavelength, Lee’s decision to sit out making an endorsement in the race sometime after the June primary, had caused the Beckles campaign some level of consternation.

After the Alameda County Democratic Party declined to make an endorsement in the race last July, Beckles said she was disappointed that three progressive leaders–Assemblymember Tony Thurmond, State Sen. Nancy Skinner and Lee–had voted “no endorsement.”

“I was just surprised because this is the most progressive district in the state. The most diverse district in the state and I would hope that we would want someone who is equally diverse and equally as progressive,” Beckles said last summer.