Columbus Democratic Congresswoman Joyce Beatty chosen to lead Congressional Black Caucus
U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty will be the new leader of the Congressional Black Caucus.
On Thursday, the 59-member caucus voted Beatty, who in January will begin her fifth term representing the 3rd Congressional District, as its chairwoman. She was the caucus' first vice chair, and she will succeed Congresswoman Karen Bass, of California.
Beatty is the third Ohioan to serve as chair of the caucus. Congresswoman Marcia Fudge of Cleveland held the post from 2013 to 2015, and Rep. Louis Stokes was chair from 1972 to 1974.
“It is the honor of a lifetime to be voted by my peers to lead the Congressional Black Caucus in the 117th Congress. Right now, our nation is facing three pandemics that have disproportionately impacted the lives of Black Americans: COVID-19, economic turmoil, and social injustice," she said in a prepared statement.
"As chair, I will work with the Biden Administration, House and Senate Leadership, as well as my congressional colleagues, to defeat the pandemic and ensure better days lie ahead for all of us. Moreover, I will use my voice to address enduring economic and health disparities and fight to break the chains of systemic racism that have held back the Black community for far too long."
Beatty, of Jefferson Township, cruised to a fifth term in the November election, winning more than 70% of the vote in the overwhelmingly Democratic district. She has represented one of the state's few districts gerrymandered to favor Democrats since her first election to the open seat in 2012.
She previously was a senior vice president at Ohio State University, and was the first woman to lead her party caucus as she spent five terms in the Ohio House.
Beatty said in a press release that her priorities for the caucus will include: "racial wealth equity and sustainability, increase access to affordable healthcare, housing and education, reform our criminal justice system, and clean up our environment."
The congresswoman drew national attention last summer when she, along with Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin and Franklin County Commissioner Kevin Boyce, was hit with pepper spray during protests in Downtown Columbus.