Lee replaced as Congressional Black Caucus chair

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, will relinquish her post as chair of the Congressional Black Caucus in January, the caucus announced today.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., emerged as the chairman-elect after the caucus elected officers for the 112th Congress today.

“As First Vice Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressman Cleaver oversaw our Jobs Taskforce and played an integral role in crafting and implementing our legislative and messaging strategy on a host of issues from health care reform and the economic recovery to climate change and Wall Street reform,” Lee said in the caucus’ statement.

She said she was honored to have chaired the caucus for the past two years. “While we have had many successes on a host of issues, there remains much more important work to do in the upcoming Congress and I am confident that the incoming CBC executive officers are more than up to the challenge.”

“When I became chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, we drafted an Opportunities for All—Pathways Out of Poverty agenda consistent with our role as the ‘conscience of the Congress’ to make sure that all Americans are protected and empowered by the government,” Lee said. “Regardless of which party controls the House of Representatives, the Congressional Black Caucus will never retreat from our commitment to create Opportunities for All—Pathways Out of Poverty.”

Cleaver said he’s “humbled and honored” by his colleagues’ support. “I owe a deep debt to our current Chair, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, for her steadfast leadership. I have learned much from her estimable example. I look forward to working with all my colleagues, of all creeds, colors, parties, and ideologies, as we begin the 112th Congress in 2011.”

The CBC’s chair typically only serves for two years, so this passing of the gavel was expected. Lee, however, shows no sign of slowing down in pursuit of her agenda: She issued a statement earlier today blasting a possible extension of the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, and will co-host a press teleconference tomorrow with Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka to discuss their plan to prevent any cuts to Social Security.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.