Barbara Lee kicks off Senate campaign at Oakland's Laney College

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) kicked off her run for US Senate Saturday in front of supporters at Laney College in Oakland. Lee, who is currently serving her 12th term in Congress, is hoping to fill the seat of retiring US Senator Dianne Feinstein.

"We the people have a chance to write our next chapter together. It’s a chapter where we fight for dignity, for freedom, for justice, and together we win," said Lee. "When we fight we win, and that’s why I’m running for the United States Senate."

A long list of Bay Area lawmakers were on hand for her first campaign event, including San Francisco Mayor London Breed and Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao

"She understands, that diversity is our superpower," said Thao.

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"She fights to deal with the challenges around mental health reform, and healthcare, and all the things that we know will allow not just people in Oakland, but in this country to live more prosperously, because Barbara Lee, speaks for me." said Breed.

In her bid for Senate, the congresswoman highlighted a long list of personal and professional struggles that she says she's overcome during her lifetime, including racism, domestic violence, and living as a homeless single mother on public assistance. Lee cited them as experiences that she says continue to inspire her work in government.

"When housing in America was ignored, I partnered with Bernie Sanders and created the National Housing Trust Fund. We did that to take on the housing crisis across America," said Lee.

Lee also touted her record of championing issues tied to social justice. The Congresswoman launched her campaign during Black History Month. Currently, there are no black women in the US Senate.  

"Black women have been at the forefront and front lines of the fight for freedom, dignity and justice," said Lee. "Black women get the job done."

Lee is jumping into a race that already includes Southern California Democratic representatives Katie Porter and Adam Schiff. The California Republican Party says it also plans to field an opponent in the race.