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Port of Oakland Hosts Congressional Meeting to Address Supply Chain Issues

“We are working to enhance our supply chain security by investing in our infrastructure and making products in America,” said Representative Jim Costa (D-Merced). “Today’s roundtable emphasized the work in progress to confront the supply chain crisis and improve our economy.”

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Congressional forum on supply chain - Representatives left to right - Jim Costa (D-Merced), Mike Thompson (D-Napa), Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), John Garamendi (D-Fairfield), and Federal Maritime Commission Chair Daniel Maffei.
Congressional forum on supply chain - Representatives left to right - Jim Costa (D-Merced), Mike Thompson (D-Napa), Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), John Garamendi (D-Fairfield), and Federal Maritime Commission Chair Daniel Maffei.

By Port of Oakland Communications Office

The Port of Oakland hosted a congressional supply chain stakeholder meeting this week in Jack London Square. The event was designed to address constituent business and trade industry stakeholder concerns about congestion and supply chain issues at the Port.

The meeting was led by Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno) and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Napa) and included Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) and Rep. John Garamendi (D-Fairfield).

In addition to the Congressmembers, the forum featured federal and state government officials including Federal Maritime Commission Chairman Daniel Maffei, and representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, CA Department of Food and Agriculture, CA State Transportation Agency and the Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development.

Additional attendees included a wide range of supply chain stakeholders, with an emphasis on representation from the agricultural export community.

Congressional representatives and government panelists discussed challenges faced by port congestion and ways to improve local and national supply chain issues.

“During the pandemic, international trade on the California coast was disrupted in an unprecedented way. We know how much these delays have harmed California’s critical agricultural industry and those who rely on these producers,” said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland).

“We can’t stop here,” she continued. “We’re going to continue this discussion to improve maritime backlog in the future with a conservation approach. I’m thankful to my colleagues in Congress, community leaders, agricultural producers, and the Port for their contributions to this effort, and look forward to lending federal support for a more efficient and resilient supply chain.”

Federal Maritime Commission Chairman Daniel Maffei said getting empty containers into the interior of the country to service exporters is still a problem, but the situation is improving.

“Congestion is down substantially here on the West Coast,” said Maffei. “We’ve expanded our audit program to promote exporters and many of the major carriers have adopted comprehensive export strategies,” he said. “Certainly, willingness to meet agricultural exporters halfway is much more prevalent in the industry now than it was two years ago.”

Representative Jim Costa (D-Fresno) stated we’re all in this together.

“We are working to enhance our supply chain security by investing in our infrastructure and making products in America,” said Costa. “Today’s roundtable emphasized the work in progress to confront the supply chain crisis and improve our economy.”

“We are intensely focused on restoring key ocean carrier services that our trade community relies on to ship their goods into and out of Northern California,” said Danny Wan, Port of Oakland executive director.

Barbara Leslie, president of the Oakland Board of Port Commissioners said this is a group effort.

“We have built a strong foundation between the Port and our state and federal partners,” said Leslie. “We will need to continue to expand these partnerships to meet the needs of our trade community and to deliver benefits to our local residents and community members who rely upon on us and are impacted by our work,” she said.

Costa concluded that the day’s forum was important because food is a national security issue.

“Collectively we have a focus in terms of how we want to move forward. Clearly, we need to invest in our infrastructure, and there were a number of areas that were pointed out where we can make those investments, not only for the Port of Oakland but for California and therefore for our nation, to ensure that we maintain our competitive edge,” said Costa.

Prior to the meeting, the Port of Oakland hosted a tour of the Oakland Seaport, where leaders learned about Port operations. They viewed the Outer Harbor to highlight the location of the recently announced Port Infrastructure Development Program grant for $36 million to rehabilitate and restore a portion of that site for a green container support yard.

About the Port of Oakland

The Port of Oakland oversees the Oakland Seaport, Oakland International Airport, and nearly 20 miles of waterfront including Jack London Square. The Port’s five-year strategic plan – Growth with Care – pairs business expansion with community benefits, envisioning more jobs and economic stimulus as the Port grows.

Barbara Lee

Rep. Barbara Lee Inquiring About Barriers to Capital for Minority Cannabis Businesses 

“As momentum for marijuana decriminalization continues, FinCEN data could help shed light on the state of minority-owned and small cannabis businesses (which constitute businesses with revenues under $40 million) seeking financial services,” the lawmakers wrote. “Existing disparities in access to capital and financial services for individuals and businesses increase financial barriers and exacerbate the racial wealth gap, further harming those most harmed by the failed War on Drugs.

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Rep. Barbara Lee and Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer. (Congress.gov photos)
Rep. Barbara Lee and Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer. (Congress.gov photos)

By Sean Ryan

Representatives Barbara Lee (CA-13) and Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) sent a letter on Wednesday to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) requesting recent data on the financial services offered to minority cannabis businesses in an effort to better understand the barriers faced by minority cannabis businesses owners.

Minority cannabis entrepreneurs often cite a lack of access to capital and financial services as a major barrier to entering the legal cannabis industry. A 2021 Brookings Institution report revealed that Black-owned businesses faced more disparities in access to banking services and deposits, mortgage credit, and small business loans than their white counterparts.

These alarming findings were further substantiated by a 2021 Federal Reserve report that found that Black and Latino-owned businesses were less than half as likely as their white counterparts to be fully approved for loan applications.

“As momentum for marijuana decriminalization continues, FinCEN data could help shed light on the state of minority-owned and small cannabis businesses (which constitute businesses with revenues under $40 million) seeking financial services,” the lawmakers wrote. “Existing disparities in access to capital and financial services for individuals and businesses increase financial barriers and exacerbate the racial wealth gap, further harming those most harmed by the failed War on Drugs.

They continued, “Given the increasing momentum of cannabis legalization and much-needed clarity from the federal government, Congress must devise a federal solution to equitably end the cannabis prohibition and encourage industry growth.

As we work to invest in the communities disproportionately harmed in the failed War on Drugs, FinCEN data on access to financial services could help promote equitable access to financial services for small and minority-owned cannabis businesses.

“We welcome the opportunity to work with FinCEN to ensure Congress is equipped with the critical data needed to effectively address equity concerns when crafting solutions to end the federal cannabis prohibition.”

Representatives Lee and Blumenauer serve as the Democratic co-chairs of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus.

Sean Ryan is the communications director in the media relations office of Rep. Barbara Lee.

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Barbara Lee

Rep. Barbara Lee Releases Statement on Nancy Pelosi’s Retirement from House Leadership

“As the first woman Speaker to lead Congress, Speaker Pelosi’s career was one of transformational leadership. From passing the Affordable Care Act and presiding over some of the most consequential legislation in modern history to leading the charge to protect our democracy after January 6th, Nancy Pelosi is truly the greatest speaker to ever serve.

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Congresswomen Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Lee pay tribute to the life, legacy, and leadership of Shirley Chisholm – the first African American women elected to Congress - at the unveiling of the U.S. Postal Service’s Shirley Chisholm Forever stamp and discussed the House Democrats’ women’s economic agenda: “When Women Succeed, America Succeeds” at Mills College in Oakland. / Nancy Pelosi/Flickr
Congresswomen Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Lee pay tribute to the life, legacy, and leadership of Shirley Chisholm – the first African American women elected to Congress - at the unveiling of the U.S. Postal Service’s Shirley Chisholm Forever stamp and discussed the House Democrats’ women’s economic agenda: “When Women Succeed, America Succeeds” at Mills College in Oakland. / Nancy Pelosi/Flickr

As the U.S. House of Representatives prepares to shift to Republican leadership in the next session of Congress, longtime Speaker of the House, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, announced on Thursday that she would step down from the leadership although she would continue to serve.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13), Speaker Pelosi’s longtime friend and colleague, released the following statement on Thursday after learning of Pelosi’s decision to retire from House leadership:

“As the first woman Speaker to lead Congress, Speaker Pelosi’s career was one of transformational leadership. From passing the Affordable Care Act and presiding over some of the most consequential legislation in modern history to leading the charge to protect our democracy after January 6th, Nancy Pelosi is truly the greatest speaker to ever serve.

“I consider Speaker Pelosi a dear friend, a congressional neighbor, and a fierce leader. I congratulate her on an incredible career in House leadership and look forward to continuing to serve the Bay Area alongside her in Congress. I wish her beloved husband, Paul, a speedy and full recovery and wish Speaker Pelosi and her family the best of luck in this next chapter. Her legacy will live on forever.”

From Sean Ryan, communications director of Rep. Barbara Lee’s media relations office.

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Barbara Lee

California ’22 Mid-Term: Historic Wave of Black Candidates Set to Win Election

A wave of Black candidates in California are expected to win after Tuesday’s general election. Among them are three candidates leading in their races to be elected to statewide constitutional offices.

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State Rep. Mia Bonta (left) is the projected winner in California’s 18th District and Congresswoman Barbara Lee declared victory in the 12th U.S. District. Twitter photo from Sept. 2021.
State Rep. Mia Bonta (left) is the projected winner in California’s 18th District and Congresswoman Barbara Lee declared victory in the 12th U.S. District. Twitter photo from Sept. 2021.

By Joe W. Bowers Jr. | California Black Media

A wave of Black candidates in California are expected to win after Tuesday’s general election. Among them are three candidates leading in their races to be elected to statewide constitutional offices.

Two African American candidates running for seats in the State Legislature are expected to win and become the two newest members of the California Legislative Black Caucus.

In the U.S. House of Representatives, Barbara Lee is projected to win a 12th term to Congress, and in the state Assembly, incumbent Mis Bonta is expected to keep her seat in the 18th District.

In Los Angeles, Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA-13), who is running for mayor of California’s largest city, is still in a too-close-to-call, dead-heat race with billionaire developer Rick Caruso as the ballot count continues.

Three candidates — Dr. Shirley Weber for Secretary of State, Tony Thurmond for State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) and Malia Cohen for State Controller – are running for statewide office.

Weber and Thurmond have already been projected to win their races.

For the first time in California history, there is a chance that three Black state constitutional officers will be elected to serve in office at the same time.

In the legislative races, Assembly District 60 (Moreno Valley), Corey A Jackson is leading Republican small business owner Hector Diaz-Nava. And in the Senate race for Senate District 28 (Los Angeles) to replace Sydney Kamlager, two Black candidates are running for the same seat. Lola Smallwood-Cuevas (D) is in the lead over Cheryl C. Turner (D).

There are 40 State Senate seats. Twenty are being contested in this election.

While regular updates are being provided for the 165 California elections held to fill state and federal offices, as with every statewide election, no final ballot counts are available on election night. Election results are updated at 5:00 p.m. each day throughout the canvass as counties count the remaining ballots.

Vote-by-mail ballots postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service on or before Nov. 8 and received no later than Nov. 15 have to be counted.

The official certified results of the election will be posted by Dec. 16, 2022, at sos.ca.gov/elections.

The candidates on the general election ballot were the top two finishers from the June primary.

For some races, winners have been projected by the Associated Press (AP), which conducts a survey of the numbers posted by local election officials. AP projects winners using vote returns and other data.

California Black Media (CBM) is reporting that 27 African American candidates are running in 24 of the state or federal races on the general election ballot. That’s 14.5% of the races. Blacks make up 5.8% of California’s population.

Four Black candidates are running statewide. Three are Democrats and one is a Republican. The following are results available for statewide races.

Incumbent Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is projected to defeat state Sen. Brian Dahle (R). Incumbent Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis (D) is the projected winner over Black Republican candidate Angela Underwood Jacobs.

Incumbent Democratic Secretary of State Shirley Weber, a Newsom appointee, is the projected winner over her Republican opponent Rob Bernosky.

Incumbent State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond is the projected winner over Lance Ray Christensen. This is a non-partisan race.

For Controller, Democrat Malia Cohen leads Republican Lanhee Chen. Incumbent Treasurer Fiona Ma (D) leads Jack Guerrero (R).

Incumbent Attorney General Rob Bonta (D), a Newsom appointee, leads Nathan Hochman (R).

Incumbent Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara (D) leads Robert Howell (R).

For U.S. Senate (both full and partial term): incumbent Sen. Alex Padilla (D), a Newsom appointee, is the projected winner over Mark Meuser (D).

California has 52 Congressional seats. Nine African American candidates are running for eight House seats.

To represent the 12th Congressional District that includes Oakland, Berkeley and part of San Leandro, incumbent Democrat Barbara Lee (D-CA-13) is projected to defeat Republican electrical engineer Stephen Slauson.

To represent the Third Congressional District, which covers the Eastern Sierra from Death Valley National Park to parts of Sacramento and Placer counties, Democratic candidate Kermit Jones is trailing Republican Kevin Kiley. This district leans Republican.

To represent the 25th Congressional District that covers Imperial County and parts of San Bernadino and Riverside counties including Calexico, Banning and the Salton Sea incumbent Rep. Raul Ruiz (D) is leading Black Republican pastor and San Jacinto City Council member Brian E. Hawkins.

To represent the 36th Congressional District that spans Beverly Hills and Santa Monica through coastal areas down to Rancho Palos Verdes in Los Angeles County, incumbent Rep. Ted Lieu (D) is projected to defeat Black Republican Navy Veteran and business owner Joe E. Collins III.

To represent the 37th Congressional District located in Los Angeles County including Culver City, Leimert Park, Crenshaw and South LA, Democratic California State Senator Sydney Kamlager is leading Black Democrat former L.A. City Councilmember Jan C. Perry. Rep. Karen Bass (D) currently represents this district.

To represent 39th Congressional District located in Riverside County including Moreno Valley and Perris, incumbent Rep. Mark Takano (D) is leading Black Republican Aja Smith, a civilian information technology specialist at March Air Reserve Base.

To represent the 43rd Congressional District that includes Compton, Inglewood, Gardena, parts of Torrance and Los Angeles International Airport, Democratic incumbent Rep. Maxine Waters is projected to defeat Republican business owner Omar Navarro.

There are 80 state Assembly seats on the ballot. Twelve Black candidates are running for 11 State Assembly seats. All of the Black candidates are Democrats and 10 are incumbents.

In addition to Jackson (mentioned earlier), the other Black candidates running for Assembly seats are:

Assembly District 18 (Oakland) – incumbent Democratic Assemblymember Mia Bonta is leading Republican Mindy Pechenuk.

Assembly District 6 (Sacramento) – incumbent Democratic Assemblymember Kevin McCarty is the vote leader over Republican retired airline pilot Cathy Cook.

Assembly District 11 (Vallejo) – incumbent Democratic Assemblymember Lori D. Wilson is the vote leader over Veterans Affairs consultant Jenny Leilani Callison.

Assembly District 41 (Pasadena) – incumbent Democratic Assemblymember Chris Holden is leading Republican Michael McMahon.

Assembly District 55 (Los Angeles) – incumbent Democratic Assemblymember Isaac G. Bryan is in the leading Republican software developer Keith Girolamo Cascio.

Assembly District 57 (Los Angeles) – incumbent Democratic Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer ran unopposed for re-election.

Assembly District 61 (Inglewood) – incumbent Democratic Assemblymember Tina Simone McKinnor is leading Democratic Mayor of Lawndale Robert Pullen-Miles, who is also Black.

Assembly District 65 (Compton) – incumbent Democratic Assemblymember Mike Anthony Gipson is leading Democratic public-school teacher Fatima Iqbal-Zubair, who is also Black.

Assembly District 69 (Long Beach) – Democratic Councilmember Al Austin II is running behind Democratic small business owner Josh Lowenthal. No incumbent was on the ballot.

Assembly District 79 (La Mesa) – incumbent Democratic Assemblymember Akilah Weber is leading Republican project manager Corbin Sabol.

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