Issue One offers its most sincere condolences to the friends and family of former Rep. Ron Dellums (D-CA). Rep. Dellums was a member of our Reformers Caucus, a bipartisan coalition composed of 200 former Cabinet officials, governors and members of Congress advocating for solutions to fix the broken political system. He passed away Monday after a battle with cancer at the age of 82.
A California Democrat, Rep. Dellums originally came to Washington in 1971 in the height of the Vietnam War. When his appeal for a House-led inquiry of U.S. war crimes in Vietnam was denied, Dellums insisted on greater transparency by arranging independent investigative hearings. Throughout his 27-year career in Congress, he advocated for expansion of social-welfare programs for the most disenfranchised Americans. Breaking away from many in his party, Dellums delivered tough criticism to both Democratic and Republican presidents during his time as a Congressman.
Rep. Dellums is perhaps best known for his leadership in founding the Congressional Black Caucus. Serving as the Caucus’ chairman from 1989-1991, he led efforts to increase funding in education, housing and health care. He also supported programs to aid victims of drug abuse. “Ron Dellums was an agitator for justice when it wasn’t popular to be one,” said former Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA). “He was a trailblazer, a maverick and in many ways my mentor.” In 1993, Dellums’ leadership was further recognized when the House Democratic Caucus elected him the first African American Chairman of the Armed Services Committee.
Issue One is grateful for Rep. Ron Dellums’ dedication to improving opportunities for every American, and for his commitment to increased transparency in government. We will remember him for his efforts to hold Congressional power accountable, and we extend our support to those closest to Rep. Dellums as we remember his wonderful life and legacy.