In an exclusive interview with theGrio, Ohio Rep. Joyce Beatty wants to focus on COVID-19, economic turmoil and social justice if she becomes chairwoman of the CBC
Image: (Credit: Rep. Joyce Beatty)
Rep. Joyce Beatty of Ohio has formally announced her candidacy for Congressional Black Caucus Chair in order to “build on the successes that we already have.”
Beatty has been proudly serving in Ohio’s Third Congressional District since 2013 and is currently the 1st Vice-Chair of the CBC. The COVID-19 pandemic, economic turmoil, and social justice are the three top priorities she wants the upcoming 117th Congress to specifically focus on.
In an exclusive interview with theGrio, Rep. Beatty explains why she wants to lead the organization as it celebrates its 50th anniversary next year.
“When you serve in the Congress and you have an opportunity to be a part of this amazing organization, I think many of us aspire to having that dream that one day you can be the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, following in giant footsteps like Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, who now speaks to the nation and people listen,” Beatty says.
On Monday, Beatty announced her intention to run after congratulating President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, declaring that she wants to do her part to make America a more “perfect union.”
She’d be taking over for California Rep. Karen Bass, who was once considered as Biden’s VP before Harris was named to the position. Bass was elected Chair in 2018. The CBC now has 55 members, the most in its history.
Beatty says she’s received support from Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond who served as Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus from 2017-19 and is ready to make her own imprint against the backdrop of President-elect Biden and his incoming administration.
“I want to build on the successes that we already have. I want to make sure that people don’t forget about our Jobs and Justice bill, especially if we go into a new administration that will be reaching out to us and asking us what are the areas that will help us build back better when we look to the Black communities and to Black Americans, as well as Latinx and other minorities,” she maintains.
Beatty adds that there would be a sea change when it comes to how the new president would respond to race relations in the country. She cited two things that would have been handled differently – the death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police and President Donald Trump signing an executive order that prohibits federal and government contractors from providing diversity training.
“This current president issued an order to stop all diversity and inclusion training in the federal government and beyond. While we wrote to the president, we did not hear back from him,” she says.
The CBC has already penned a letter to President-elect Biden about the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act which would allow for more accountability by police officers across the board. She did not say if there had been a response yet from Biden.
Beatty also wants to focus on COVID-19’s impact on the Black community.
“When we look at what’s happening, not only in my state and many other states but when we look across the nation and we look at that, we have had 238,000 plus people die and we are up to something like 10 million cases,” she says.
“When you look at Black Americans, who account for 16% of those cases, and when you look at us, we make up 20% of those deaths, but we only represent 13% of the United States population.”
As a Black woman, Beatty believes that she is uniquely qualified to lead the caucus.
“It allows me to have an opportunity to have a Black woman in the room when we talk about leadership and the direction not only of this Congress, but of this country,” she declares.
“So I think I have a lot to offer and I’m very excited and honored and humbled by just the opportunity that I am running and could be elected during [the 50th] anniversary of the Congressional Black Caucus.”