BERKELEY – U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee has been named the winner of the Wayne Morse Integrity in Government Award for 2002, in part for challenging President Bush’s military plans after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
The award, to be formally announced Thursday, is presented to a politician who embodies the late Oregon senator’s political courage and commitment to justice.
Lee, the Democrat who represents Oakland and Berkeley, cast the only “no” vote on a resolution passed shortly after the East Coast terrorist attacks, authorizing the nation to go to war.
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“It was a blank check to the president to attack anyone involved in the Sept. 11 events anywhere, in any country, without regard to our nation’s long-term foreign policy,” Lee wrote in an essay published shortly after the attacks. “A rush to launch precipitous military counterattacks runs too great a risk that more innocent people will be killed.”
In a prepared statement Wednesday, Lee called Morse “a true inspiration” and said winning an award in his name “is indeed a humbling and remarkable moment.”
Lee is the eighth person and second woman to receive the award since its inception in 1987. The other woman was the first to receive the award, California Supreme Court Justice Rose Bird.
Lee beat out six other nominees, including finalists Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Sen. James Jeffords of Vermont. Feingold, a Democrat, has pushed for campaign finance reform. Jeffords made headlines when he abandoned the Republican Party to become independent, changing the Senate’s balance of power.