Updated (November 21, 2018): A 2015 job recommendation from U.S. House Rep. Marcia Fudge praising Ohio Judge Lance Mason, who was recently arrested for allegedly killing his ex-wife, has surfaced online.
The letter was an endorsement praising Mason's record as a judge, politician and his character for a potential job with the City of Cleveland. Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson hoped to hire Mason for the high-profile job of city director of minority business, reports Cleveland.com. Fudge said she knew Mason for two decades and were close friends. But the most damning details from the letter were in reference to Mason's history of domestic violence.
“I commend Lance for immediate recognizing that he needed help and entered counseling which continues as of this writing,” she said in the recommendation. “Lance accepts full responsibility for his actions and has assured me that something like this will never happen again.”
In 2014, the former judge was arrested and convicted for attacking his then-wife, Aisha Fraser, while returning from a funeral. He reportedly punched her 20 times, resulting in broken facial bones and other horrific injuries.
"The Lance T. Mason I know is a kind, intelligent man and loyal friend. The Lance T. Mason I know is an advocate for the people of his community. Whether as a County Prosecutor, State Senator or Common Pleas Judge. He is well respected and well liked," she continued. "Lance Mason is a good man who made a very bad mistake. I can only hope that you can see in Lance what I and others see." Mason, however, was arrested Saturday on suspicion of murdering Fraser. His sister and young daughters were reportedly in the house during the fatal stabbing.
According to Politico, Fudge has expressed interest in running for Speaker of the House following the Democratic takeover.
Now, it appears she is backing prospective House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Roll Call reports Fudge will possibly serve as chairwoman of a subcommittee on elections.
“I now join my colleagues in support of the leadership team of Pelosi, Rep. Steny H. Hoyer and Rep. James E. Clyburn,” she said.
The Democratic Party took control of the House of Representatives during the 2018 midterm elections, meaning a Democrat will become the next speaker of the House. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) last held the role during the Obama years, and she wants to be speaker again. However, it isn't clear whether Pelosi has enough support within her party to win the job, and Thursday, Marcia Fudge (D-OH) was put forward as a possible alternative to the representative from California.
"Over the last 12 hours, I’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of support I’ve received,” Fudge told The Washington Post. To Cleveland.com, the representative said, "People are asking me to do it, and I am thinking about it. I need to give it some thought and see if I have an interest. I am at the very beginning of this process. It is just in discussion at this point."
Despite this pressure from her colleagues, Fudge made it clear she's still not sure she'll throw her hat into the ring: "I've not decided I'm going to run."
In speaking with HuffPost, however, the former leader of the Congressional Black Caucus was critical of Pelosi, accusing her of not having done enough for Black Americans and for taking the support of her colleagues for granted.
Fudge asked why the former speaker hasn't endorsed the highest ranking Democrat, Jim Clyburn (D-SC), in his race for majority whip. “[Pelosi] wants our endorsements? Who has she endorsed?" Fudge asked, adding, “We’re not feeling the love.”
The Ohio Democrat also said the speaker ought to reflect changes in the party and in the country's demographics.
“What is wrong with acknowledging the fact that the Democratic Party is becoming more young, more Black, and more brown? And letting that be reflected in our leadership, Fudge said.
Keeping party power concentrated in wealthy, white hands sends a poor message, according to Fudge. “I would say this: my concern about the caucus is the same concern I have about the country. Just as there is this undertone of racism in the country, there’s also that in our caucus.”
Fudge, and any other representative who would like to challenge Pelosi for the speakership, has until November 28 to declare their candidacy.
It is not yet clear whether the California Congressperson has the votes to don the mantle again. In a separate report, HuffPost states at least 20 Democrats have signed a letter opposing Pelosi taking on the top job, and Fudge is one of them.
“I don’t hate Nancy. I think Nancy has been a very good leader,” Fudge said. “I just think it’s time for a new one.”
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