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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.

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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.

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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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