By Hal Brown
With talk of celebrities from Ophra Winfrey (article) who in May said though a spokesperson she wouldn't consider it to Megan Markel (article) being apponted to be the Black female placeholder for Diane Feinstein's Senate seat I want to suggest that Gavin Newsom might find the least controversial and most qualitifed woman to fill the seat who won't want to run against the current field is an esteemed political science university professor.
There may be others but I found one who seems to be an outstanding choice.
She is Lorrie Frasure. Here's her UCLA biography.
Dr. Lorrie Frasure is the inaugural Ralph J. Bunche Endowed Chair at the University of California-Los Angeles. She is a Professor of Political Science and African American Studies. From 2019-2022 she served as Vice Chair for Graduate Studies in the Department of Political Science at UCLA. She also served as the Acting Director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA from 2019-2020.
Her research interests include racial/ethnic political behavior, African American politics, women and politics, immigrant political incorporation, and state and local politics. In 2015, she became the first African American female and the first woman of color to earn tenure and promotion in the Political Science Department at UCLA. Her book, Racial and Ethnic Politics in American Suburbs (Cambridge University Press) is the 2016 winner of two national book awards by the American Political Science Association (APSA), including the Best Book about Race Relations in the United States from the Race, Ethnicity and Politics (REP) Section, and the Dennis Judd Best Book Award in Urban and Local Politics. She examines international and domestic migration to American suburbs and the responsiveness of state and local institutions to the political and policy concerns of immigrant and ethnic minority groups.
Since 2008, she has served as co-Principal Investigator of the Collaborative Multiracial Post-Election Survey (CMPS) the first multiracial/ethnic, multilingual post-election study of political preferences and behavior among registered voters in a presidential election. In 2016, the CMPS brought together a consortium of over 80 scholars, across 55 universities/colleges to create the first national, cooperative, 100% user content driven, post-election survey of adult voters or non-voters in a presidential election. With over 350 electoral, civic and policy-related survey questions, the CMPS queried more than 10,000 people in five languages — English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese. The most recent 2020 CMPS brought together over 200 scholars from nearly 100 universities/colleges to develop the survey, which contains over 800 unique questions. The 2020 CMPS was offered in English, Spanish, Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), Korean, Vietnamese, Arabic, Urdu, Farsi and Haitian Creole. The survey dataset includes nearly 15,000 Black, White, Latino and Asian respondents as well as oversamples of nearly 5,000 respondents from hard-to-reach populations including, Afro-Latinos, Black immigrants, Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, Muslims and people who identify as LGBTQ. The 2020 CMPS also include a sample of 16- and 17-year old youth. Through its inclusive model of resource-sharing, workshops, research and publication opportunities, the CMPS has changed the way data is collected and shared between an interdisciplinary group of researchers, and collaboratively builds a diverse and dynamic academic pipeline of scholars in the social sciences and related fields.
Professor Frasure’s research projects and initiatives have received grant support from numerous funders, including over $1.2 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF), as well as a multi-year research grant from the American Political Science Association’s (APSA) Centennial Center. She is the recipient of several local and national awards including the Ford Foundation Dissertation and Postdoctoral Fellowship Awards from the National Research Council of the National Academies, and the Clarence Stone Young Scholars Award of the American Political Science Association’s Urban Politics Section.
In 2018, she was awarded the Distinguished Teaching Award for Senate Faculty, with a special “Distinction in Teaching at the Graduate Level.” Preceded by only 8 awardees, she is the first woman and the first person of color in the history of the Political Science Department to have earned UCLA’s highest campus-wide teaching recognition (since developed in 1961).
Professor Frasure was featured in the PBS Newshour “Rethinking College” segment highlighting her teaching and mentorship with First Generation College Students at UCLA. Frasure was also featured in the UCLA First-Generation Faculty Initiative, to encourage and inspire first-generation college students. She was awarded the University of Chicago, Harris School of Public Policy–Rising Star Alumni Award, for “extraordinary work addressing racial and ethnic politics in America.”
She received her Ph.D. and MA in Political Science from the University of Maryland-College Park, a Master in Public Policy (MPP) from the University of Chicago, and a BA in Political Science from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Prior to joining the faculty of UCLA, she was a Postdoctoral Associate and Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Government at Cornell University.
She is a proud first-generation college graduate, born and raised on the Southside of Chicago.
California is home to some of the top American political science programs (UCLA at 12 trails UC Berkeley at 4 and UC San Diego at 8). I am sure there are other Black female professors with similar stature so if Newsom doesn't chose Prof. Frasure he may decide on another one.
I didnt have the time or inclination to look through the faculty lists of all the university poltical science departments in California. I did scan through Berkely (here) and none caught my attention because they appeared to be Black since, for example Marika Landau Wells is only an assistant teaching professor. I couldn't find a Black female in the poltical science department of UC Davis. The top political science department in the country is Stanford but the only Black woman there is Condoleeza Rice. I doubt she'd caucus with Senate Democrats.
If Newsom does appointment a political science professor I will claim my bragging right s for predicting this.