US Senate Candidates Forum


Vidya Sethuraman
India Post News Service

As the U.S. Senate election heats up, candidates Barbara Lee, Adam Schiff and Katie Porter joined an online forum presented by EMS and California Black Media on Thursday, February 8 to discuss their platforms.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA-12) says if she wins the U.S. senatorial race this year to succeed Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who passed away in September last year, she would bring the voice, insights and perspective of a Black woman to the U.S. Senate.

Lee noted her long history as a liberal advocate and cited the struggles she has overcome.  She said, as Senator, she would be “one out of 100”, bringing her lived experiences as a Black woman and a progressive to the body.

She is running for Senate because “I know what it takes to help lift people out of poverty into the middle class, to grow the middle class, to create businesses, to address a mental health crisis.” She supported Medicare for all, including for immigrants; would vote for any legislation that ensures a free and open U.S. press; was championing the OLIGARCH Act to tax extreme wealth; and backed the Biden administration’s support for Ukraine during the war. She said the country needs a “public safety plan,” and said she would fight for an assault weapon ban and “real gun control.”

U.S. Representative Adam Schiff (CA D-30), who has represented various parts of Los Angeles County since 2001, said, he would support a comprehensive approach to immigration that includes a pathway to citizenship, and relief for DACA recipients and Temporary Protected Status holders. He explained his support for Medicare for All and his efforts to increase the childcare tax credit.

I have long pushed Congress to expand the Child Tax Credit and make it permanent. During the pandemic, the Child Tax Credit brought almost 4 million children out of poverty, and cut child poverty in half – in half. I would like to see more children lifted out of poverty, and there is certainly more that we can and should do, but any expansion of the CTC is something we should all welcome.

Katie Porter (CA D-47), who has represented various parts of Orange County since 2019, said the biggest challenge faced by California specifically is the cost of housing. My Housing for All plan would focus Washington on the number-one expense for California families, so every Californian can afford safe, climate-resilient housing, said Katie. Porter talked about being a single mother of young children who knows what it’s like to struggle, and said she wasn’t afraid to stand up to powerful interests. I’ve never been for sale,” Porter continued. “I’m the only elected official in this race who has never taken corporate PAC or federal lobbyist money, because it corrupts decisions.

All of the candidates support legislation that would raise the federal minimum wage from the current $7.25 hourly rate to $17 by 2028.  Lee said $20 per hour should be the floor. Anything less is “unacceptable anywhere in the United States, especially in California. Porter said she backs a $20 per hour federal minimum wage, and $25 in California, and would tie future rate increases to inflation. The primary will take place on March 5, after which the top two vote-getters will move on to the general election in November.

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