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Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California is one of the best-known members of the U.S. House of Representatives, earning notoriety as the first woman to represent the state’s 9th district. Rep. Lee was born on July 16, 1946 in El Paso, Texas.

Lee moved with her military family to California where she became a cheerleader at San Fernando High School, racially integrating the squad. As a single mother with two sons, while also living on public assistance, Lee attended Mills College in Oakland. During her time there as the school’s Black Student Union president, she invited Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm to speak. Rep. Chisholm’s words inspired Lee to get involved with politics, and she worked on Chisolm’s 1972 presidential campaign.

Before entering the U.S. Congress, Lee worked for late Congressman Ron Dellums, becoming his chief of staff in the ‘70s. She then became a member of the California State Assembly and the State Senate prior to winning the house seat she currently occupies in 1998. Today, Lee presides over the 13th District, which covers Oakland, Berkeley, and much of Northern Alameda County.

In 2001, Lee made headlines as the only member of Congress to oppose the use of military force after the September 11 attacks, which began her reputation as a strong anti-war advocate.

Today, Lee presides over the 13th District, which covers Oakland, Berkeley, and much of Northern Alameda County.

PHOTO: Public Domain

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