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US Senate Contenders Barbara Lee, Katie Porter, and Adam Schiff Illuminate Policies and Passion in Exclusive Ethnic Media Forum

US Senate Contenders Barbara Lee, Katie Porter, and Adam Schiff Illuminate Policies and Passion in Exclusive Ethnic Media Forum

Magazine, The Immigrant Experience

The US Senate Candidates’ Forum brought together three prominent contenders, Reps Barbara Lee, Katie Porter, and Adam Schiff, vying for the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s seat in the US Senate. The forum, presented by Ethnic Media Services and California Black Media, aimed to provide a platform for these candidates to address crucial issues and connect with the diverse communities they seek to represent in the minority-majority state of California.
Regina Wilson, the Executive Director of California Black Media, emphasized the importance of reporters in conveying the candidates’ messages and ensuring voters are well-informed about their stances on critical issues. The forum, she expressed, was an opportunity for the candidates to articulate their visions for the state and for the media to accurately reflect these perspectives.

The event was moderated by Sunita Sohrabji, the health editor at Ethnic Media Services, who opened the discussion with Congresswoman Barbara Lee. Lee took the opportunity to express her gratitude to ethnic and black media for their objective and truthful coverage of the candidates, recognizing the role they play in shaping public opinion.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee delved into her personal background, highlighting her upbringing in El Paso, Texas, as an African-American progressive woman in California. She underscored the challenges she faces as a candidate reliant on smaller donations compared to the substantial funds raised by her opponents.

Lee shared stories from her life, illustrating her experiences with issues such as immigration, environmental justice, and her family’s multicultural background. Her narrative touched on the importance of addressing challenges faced by black and brown communities, drawing from her personal encounters with poverty, domestic violence, and her work in mental health.
The Congresswoman emphasized her extensive experience in public service, her role as a negotiator and appropriator, and her bipartisan approach in the Senate. Lee recalled her principled stand against President Bush’s authorization for the use of force, showcasing her commitment to standing up for what she believes is right, even within her own party.
She further discussed her role in developing global AIDS initiatives, demonstrating her ability to find common ground for the greater good. Lee concluded by expressing gratitude for the endorsements she received at the Democratic Party convention, despite challenges in media representation, as the only person of color in the race.The forum provided a platform for Congresswoman Barbara Lee to share her background, experiences, and vision for California, aiming to connect with voters and overcome challenges in media portrayal during the campaign.

Congressman Adam Schiff, who has represented portions of Los Angeles County in the House since 2001 was posed a question regarding his stance on a recent border package, which he opposed due to its combination with unrelated funding for Ukraine and other countries. Schiff expressed his disagreement with President Biden’s approach and emphasized the need for a comprehensive immigration policy.

Schiff highlighted the shortcomings of the bipartisan package, citing the absence of key provisions such as a pathway to citizenship for undocumented individuals, relief for dreamers, and protections for farmworkers. He criticized the package for lacking the input of Hispanic caucus members and border state Democrats, asserting that a more inclusive and comprehensive approach is necessary.

The Congressman acknowledged the importance of separating emergency funding requests from border-related policies. He praised the Senate’s subsequent efforts to address the issues independently, aligning with his earlier recommendations.
After the discussion on the border package, Schiff took the opportunity to make his opening statement. He expressed gratitude to Ethnic Media Services and California Black Media for hosting the forum and emphasized the critical role of the media in defending democracy. Schiff shared personal anecdotes, including his family background and his commitment to California’s ideals.

Schiff outlined his achievements, including authoring California’s Patient Bill of Rights and advocating for updated textbooks in schools during his time in the state Senate. He discussed his efforts as a federal prosecutor, taking on oil companies and environmental challenges, highlighting his dedication to the California dream.

The Congressman emphasized his commitment to voting rights, pledging to prioritize the elimination of filibusters and advocating for equitable access to healthcare as a civil right. Schiff also spoke about his efforts to combat hate and defend institutions against threats to democracy.

In a nutshell, Schiff expressed his goals of making the economy work for everyone, protecting the environment, and ensuring affordable housing and childcare. He highlighted his track record of representing a diverse constituency and pledged to continue advocating for all Californians if elected to the US Senate. The forum provided a platform for Schiff to articulate his positions, share his background, and connect with voters on key issues.

The forum then extended a warm welcome to Congresswoman Katie Porter, who has been representing segments of Orange County in the House since 2019. She was invited to delve into her background and articulate the motivations propelling her candidacy for the esteemed position in the US Senate.

Porter began by expressing gratitude for the opportunity to participate, and she humorously mentioned being referred to as Congress’s “single mom and watchdog” by The San Francisco Chronicle. She resides in Irvine, where she is raising three school-aged and “lightly supervised” children. Porter humorously mentioned her affinity for oversight, even incorporating it into her minivan’s license plate.

The Congresswoman stressed the significance of oversight in Congress, emphasizing its role in holding powerful individuals accountable, whether they be cabinet secretaries or corporate CEOs. She highlighted her dedication to oversight, not just as a means of delivering speeches but as a method of obtaining answers and ensuring accountability.
Porter emphasized her unique position as the only candidate in the race who has never accepted corporate PAC money, emphasizing her commitment to avoiding corrupting influences. She elaborated on her work in Congress, holding polluters, big pharma, big insurance, and the gun lobby accountable for their actions.

Expressing the need for a senator who acts to strengthen democracy, Porter outlined her campaign’s six-point “Shake Up the Senate” plan, aimed at redirecting the Senate’s focus from special interests to the public. She criticized the influence of mega-donors and wealthy contributors, asserting the need for elected leaders to prioritize the well-being of all citizens.
Porter, drawing on her background as a consumer advocate, discussed her 10-point “Housing for All” plan, addressing the housing crisis in California. She pledged to work towards affordable homeownership, combatting the effects of racist redlining policies, and ensuring that every Californian can afford safe, climate-resilient housing.
In essence, Porter expressed her readiness to tackle California’s challenges and her excitement to address questions from the community. Her introduction provided insights into her background, priorities, and commitment to grassroots-driven change.

In conclusion, the forum offered an insightful and intimate glimpse into the perspectives of three dedicated, passionate, and articulate candidates. The candidates expressed their gratitude for the critical role ethnic media plays in reaching often underserved audiences.

Sandy Close, the founder, expressed her gratitude for the candidates and reporters who made the debate possible. She highlighted the importance of bringing the message back to their audiences, emphasizing the crucial role of civic engagement by urging everyone to “get out and vote.”

The forum provided a valuable platform for an informed discussion, shedding light on the candidates’ stances, priorities, and commitment to addressing the needs of diverse communities. As the event concluded, the focus turned back to Sandy Close, acknowledging the collective effort that made the debate, discussion, and conversation possible. The call to action, urging citizens to participate in the democratic process through voting, resonated as a pivotal takeaway from the engaging and informative forum.

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