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Rep. Barbara Lee Says Ageism and Sexism Played a Role in Her Dem Caucus Chair Loss

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) partially blamed the failure of her bid for Democratic Caucus Chair on “ageism” and “sexism” Wednesday. A fellow Congressional Black Caucus member, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), narrowly won the fifth-ranking House Democratic leadership role by a vote of 123-113.


Following the vote, Rep. Lee, who is 72-years-old, was asked if she thought ageism or sexism played a role.

“Well, I think you heard and saw what took place,” she replied. “So I absolutely think that’s the case.”

“And that is something that women, especially women of color and African-American women, have to fight constantly each and every day,” she added. “We still have many glass ceilings to break.”

Rep. Jeffries, 48, characterized the race as a “friendly contest of ideas,” and pledged to work with Lee. He is regarded as a rising star in the party who could one day become the first African-American speaker of the House. 

While campaigning for the role, Jeffries made the case for a “generational change” in Democratic party leadership, but he dodged a question Wednesday about the role “ageism” played in the leadership vote.


Last week Jeffries commented of the leadership elections, “at the end of the day, there’s gonna be some generational change moving forward.”

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